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Full text of "Electronic Games - Volume 02 Number 14 (1984-09)(Reese Communications)(US)"

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Computer Games Videogames Stand- Alone Games Arcades 

SEPTEMBER, 1984 • $2.95 

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1 1 1 











Commodore makes software 
for uncles, cousins, aunts who 
teach, nieces, nephews, brothers, 
sisters preparing for exams, fathers, 
mothers and brothers-in-law in 
roofing and tiling. 

You see. Commodore makes 
software for fun, profit, homework, 
housework and office work. 

OurEasy-Calc (upper left) is 
an electronic spreadsheet that's 63 
columns x 254 rows with graphics 

and bar charting. And even with 
color options. 

Fish Metic™ (upper right) is an 
educational math program in a game 
format. With our Manager program 
(lower left), you get a sophisticated 


database system with four built-in 
filing applications. Or you can design 
your own. 

Why. in the lower right hand 
corner, there's even a ... oh, we don't 
make that one yet. 

But we're working on it. 

Incidentally, we also make the 
perfect place to use all these soft- 
ware programs (except the last one) : 
the all purpose Commodore 64,™ the 
world's best selling computer. 









Two new FORCEful games and more to come 


EG takes a close look at a brand new gaming machine 


The hottest new titles in the arcades 












The latest and greatest in command control devices 



The state of the vector at home and in the arcades. 



Computer artistry with light pens. 

Q & A 79 


A fond farewell to the King of Stand-Alones 




ELECTRONIC GAMES (ISSN 0730-6687)) 15 published monthly except (or February. 
Apnl June. August by Reese Communications. IOC . 460 West 34th Street. New York. 
NY 10001 Second-class postage paid at New York NY and additional mailing office 
D 1984 by Reese Communications. Inc All rights reserved E under Universal, 
international and Pan American Copyright Conventions Reproduction or the editorial 
or pictonal content in any manner is prohibited Single copy price. S2 95 Subscription 

POSTMASTER Send address changes to ELECTRONIC GAMES. P. O Box 1128. Dover, N.J. 07801 

rates 12 issues. S28. Canada 12 issues. S32 12 issues. S64. U S 
funds Address subscription orders and correspondence to ELECTRONIC GAMES, P O 
Box 1 1 28. Dover. Nj 07801 or call (201 ) 361 -9550 Change of address takes 60 days to 
process, send old address label, new address and zip code All material listed m this 
magazine is subject to manufacturer's change without notice.and publisher assumes 
no responsibility for such changes Printed m the U S A 

4 Electronic Games 

TAC-2™. It stands for Totally Accurate 
Controller, and it means it. With most 

joysticks, you cant feel your 

move until it's too late. With TAC-2 

by Suncom, it's like your hand is 

part of the game. TAC-2 has 

tactile feedback — feedback you 

can feel, it also has an extremely 

tight reaction time, a short 

throw distance and right and 

left hand fire buttons to keep 

you a step ahead of the game. 

With TAC-2 you know absolutely, 

positively the exact moment 

you make a move — any mow 

TAC-2. it's everything you want in a 
joystick including dependable. It's backed 
by a 2-year limited warranty-the 
longest, strongest warranty of 
any major joystick manufacturer. 

\ The next fast move is up to you. 
Get TAC-2 for your Atari 2600, 
Sears Telegame, Atari 400, 600, 800, 
, 1200, 1600, commodore vic-20 
j and 64, Tl-99 / 4A (with adaptor), 
J NEC and Panasonic personal 
computer* From Suncom, the 
people who bring you technically- 
advanced joysticks, including our 
r Starfighter™ for Apple* 

TAC-2. The controller t 

HlH : 

s you part of the game. 


Always ahead of the game 

Suncom, inc. • 260 Holbrook Drive • Wheeling, IL 60090 • (312) 459-8000 

•Products and trademarks of Atari, Sears, Commodore. NEC, Texas instruments. Panasonic and Apple 

The Future of Coin-Op Videogames 

now that the success of 
laserdisc games has 
moved coin-ops off the criti- 
cal list, we've got the breath- 
ing space to ponder 
what's next for the play-for- 
pay devices. I mean, it's hard 
to think about the future 
when day-to-day survival is 
the paramount question. 

With traffic in the arcades 
— and, consequently, sales 
volume — on the rise once 
more, it's only natural to 
wonder where the field will 
go from here. The arcades 
have apparently attained 
something close to their full 
growth potential, and 
efforts to greatly increase 
the number of machines 
might bring back the over- 
supply situation that had 
arcade operators tearing out 
their hair — and cutting 
down on orders for the new 

The most likely forthcom- 
ing development is the cre- 
ation of new types of estab- 
lishments in which coin- 
operated electronic games 
are a major attraction. 
There's been some attempt 
to create bar/gamerooms 
and arcade discos, but the 
next big effort might be in 
the form of a private club 
with a restaurant and 


perhaps even other rec- 
reational activities. This type 
of fun emporium might have 
a greater attraction for 
adults than the current fam- 
ily amusement center, be- 
cause of a generally lower 
external noise level and the 
presence of various ameni- 
ties that go well with 

Another new wrinkle 
heading our way is the all- 
encompassing simulation. 
The sit-down coin-ops of to- 
day are only the forerunners 
of full-surround games 
which are perhaps already 
on the drawing board. 

The major barrier holding 
back the introduction of su- 
per-duper arcade machines 
is the high price of the hard- 
ware. The $20,000- 
$30,000 simulators just aren'' 
cost-effective for amuse- 
ment centers. The cost of 
such devices keeps drop- 
ping, so it may soon become 
feasible to employ total 
simulation units in a com- 
mercial setting. Cost-per- 
play could easily go as high 
as $2, since such games 
generally require much more 
play-time than the run-of- 
the-mill blastathon. 

Laserdisc games have be- 
come more numerous in the 

year since Dragon's Lair 

made its debut, but are un- 
likely to dominate arcades 
the way conventional 
videogames did when they 
challenged the position of 
pinballs in the 1970's. Many 
designers consider raster the 
more flexible of the two sys- 
tems, and the visuals of 
soon-to-be-released raster 
titles are virtually on a par 
with those of the laserdisc 
devices. Ultimately, many 
machines will blend laserdisc 
and computer input to take 
advantage of the strengths 
of both systems. 

The overall popularity of 
coin-ops has been a little up 
and down since mid-1982. 
Improvements in the home 
games have greatly reduced 
the technological advantage 
which was the coin-ops' big- 
gest asset. The recent sales 
upturn reflects advances in 
design which have, once 
more, given coin-ops a 
chance to offer gaming ex- 
periences which are not yet 
available on microcom- 
puters. In the future, gamers 
can expect manufacturers to 
produce fewer, more in- 
novative titles instead of 
trialballooning a dozen po- 
tential entries to see which 
the operators order. Q 

Volume Two, Number Fourteen 
September. 1984 

Arme KaU 
Executive Editor 
Bill Kunkel 
Senior Editor 
Joyce Worley 

Features Editor 
Trace Forman 

Technical Director 
Henry B Cohen 

Strategy Editor 
Frank Tetro Jr 
West Coast Editor 
David Lustig 
Midwest Edltoi 
Rick Teverbaugh 

Contributing Editors 
Tom Benlord 
Steve Davidson 
Leigh Goldstein 
Charlene Komar 
Will Richardson 
Brian Scott 

Managing Editor 
Louise Kohl 

Art Director 
fieri Harvey 
Graphic Consultants 

Creative Concepts 


Aaron Epstein 

Frank Emmi 


Neal McPheeten 

Cover illustration 

Frank immi 

Director of Retail Accounts 

loseph Muccigrosso 

Subscription Manager 

Rena Adler 

Circulation Assistant 

Carol lames 

New York 

National Advertising Director 

Diane Mick 

460 West 34(h Street 

New York. NY 10OO1 

(212) 947-6500 
Los Angeles 
Advertising Director 
Colette Kreins 

413 South LaBrea Ave 
Los Angeles, CA 90036 

(213) 8570663 


Advertising Representative 
Milton Cerber 
1 309 North Rand Road 
Arlington Heights. IL 60004 
(312) 253 7500 
Advertising Coordinator 
Angela Vitale 





President and Publisher 
Jay Rosenlield 
Arme KatZ 
Production Manager 
Laurie Ann Devereaux 
Production Assistant 
Kayt Kirk 

Circulation Director 
William D Smith 

6 Electronic Games 

All the hits 
your computer 

is missing 









BOaOTHON:20a4 »••■'•£■.', 


VIC 20 


If you thought you'd never find fun games for 
your hardworking home computer, happy days 
are here. Because now ATARISOFT'" has all 
the great hits . . . Pac-Manj Donkey Kong 2 by 
Nintendo; Centipede'," Defender; Joust; Jungle 
Hunt; Moon Patrol; Pole Position; Galaxian! 
Ms. Pac-Man | and Battlezone'" 

And we've got them for all the hit computers 
...Apple, IBM, Commodore 64, Vic-20, Colecovi 
sion* and TI 99/4A. We've got Pac-Man, Centi- 
pede and Defender for Intellivision too. 

So dust off your joystick and ask your dealer 
for all the ATARISOFT hits. It's the software your 
hardware's been waiting for. 


All the hits your computer is missing. 

^f'^ T ^i*^ a,e manufactured by Alan Inc lor use wlh various computers and video game consoles ATARISOFT producis are not made licensed or approved by the manufacturer(s) ot Ihese 
pouters and vdeo game consoles 'Donkey Kong and Baniezonenot available on Cotecovson 1 Trademarks of Bally Mlg Co Sublicensed to ATARI inc by Namco- America inc 2 Trademarks and 
©Nintendo 1981, 1983 3 Trademarks and © Williams 1980 1982 manufactured under license from Wdhams Electrodes 4 Trademark and « ol Tano America Corporation 1982 5 E nameered and 
designed by Namco Ltd manufactured under license by ATARI. Inc Trademark and © Namco 1982 Alar.' O A Warner Communications Co © 1 984 ATARI Inc All rights reserved 





Astro Chase, Flip & Flop, 
Bristles and Boulder/Dash 

will soon be fixtures at family 
amusement centers from 
coast to coast as a result of an 
agreement between First Star 
Software and coin-op manu- 
facturer, Exidy. "First Star 


games are quality leaders in 
the home market," asserts 
Richard Spitalny, president 
and CEO of First Star. 
"Arcade games have always 
set a very high standard in the 
industry, a measuring point 
for excellence in graphics and 
gameplay. This licensing rec- 
ognizes our products as 
arcade quality." 


Weekly Reader Family 
Software, a division of Xerox 
Education Publications, has 
just the thing for Stickybear 
lovers. Any customer 
purchasing two Stickybear 
programs between May 15 
and September 15, can re- 
ceive a free Stickybear Activ- 
ity Book by submitting re- 
ceipts and a coupon from 

their software outlet. The 
book is an eye-pleaser for 
kids, featuring cutouts, color- 
by-number drawings, 
connect-the-dot games, and 
puzzles. The offer includes all 
the Stickybear learning pro- 
grams, as well as the all-family 
skill games Stickybear Bop 
and Stickybear Basket- 



Here*s something for Ap- 
ple-users with arm, wrist and 
shoulder fatigue. If hours at 
the keyboard make you feel 
like you've been plucking ap- 
ples from treetops instead of 
just working at your home 
computer console, "Entry 
Rest" by Discwasher can be a 
big help. Made of solid oak, it 
includes a built-in multi- 
function calculator with 
memory, and a static ground- 
ing bar to protect the Apple 
against static discharges. It 
comes with all the hardware 
needed to mount it on the 
computer, for $34.95, and is 
said to "eliminate the grow- 
ing problem of computer fati- 
gue", according to Dale Ber- 
lau, Discwasher's marketing 



Got a good idea for a game, 
or a program worth publish- 
ing? Datasoft will evaluate 
the concept, and if acceptable 
for publication, design a 
marketing agreement to sell 
the product through their dis- 
tribution channels. They'll 
even transfer the program to 
other computer systems for 
wider market appeal. For in- 
formation, write Datasoft, 
Programmer's Package, 
19808 Nordhoff PI., Chats- 
worth, Ca. 91311. 


Clint Eastwood was on 
hand to introduce Atari's first 
laserdisc coin-snatcher, Fire- 
fox. Based on the Eastwood 
movie, the game boasts the 
first original orchestral score 
ever written for an arcade 
game by Jeff Gusman, Atari's 

own full-time, in-house 
musician/composer. Along 
with the music recorded by a 
30-piece chamber orchestra 
and enhanced by synthesizer, 
which observers describe as 
"rousing" and "militant", 
arcaders who complete the 

mission are treated to East- 
wood's voice saying, "Noth- 
ing can touch us now. Better 
ice up a cool one; I'm coming 

Mike Hally, project leader, 
and Moe Shore, Atari's video 
production specialist, (co- 

designers of FireFox), re- 
edited film footage shots from 
the movie to produce flight 
sequences for the game. Play- 
ers must steal the "Firefox" 
fighter plane and pilot it out of 
Russia, using the aircraft-style 

8 Electronic Games 

make your head spin. 
In planet by planet intergallactlc warfare, 
you're attacked by waves of alien ships. 
Then satellites. 

^ meteor showers. 

. °'e 





V %. \, W X %S \ 

0l0co Wsi OP ,, 
Commodore ' and 
tar. Home omputers. 


© '984 p a 
of Konami Industry Co Lid and is used by Parkei Brothers under authorization 





Following the Chapter 11 
Bankruptcy filing of Pizza 
Time Theatre, Bally Man- 
ufacturing agreed to purchase 
Sente Technologies, the 
videogame design unit that 
Pizza Time formed to create 
coin-operated game 
machines. Sente will continue 
its engineering, research and 
marketing operations under 
Nolan Bushnell's leadership 
according to Robert Mullane, 
President of Bally. "We are 
extremely pleased to have this 
association with one of the 
most creative men in America. 
He is already a legend, and we 
expect his new contributions 
to Bally's games will be in 
keeping with his past suc- 


The Animation Station, a 
touch sensitive graphics tablet 
computer cursor controller 
from Suncom, brings finger- 
tip control for the IBM PC jr, 
C-64, Apple, Atari and Adam 
computers. It features side- 
mounted dual left or right 
hand function buttons, with a 
touch sensor surface built to 






Over 750 students in seven 
San Jose. Ca. schools took a 
two-week science course, 
combining traditional book- 
study with hands-on use of 
computers to teach pupils 


the same rectangular propor- 
tions as a home t.v. set, so 
that graphics fit to the borders 
of the t.v. screen. The Anima- 
tion Station comes packed 
with a graphics utility prog- 
ram titled "Doodler", and will 
be supported by a line of soft- 
ware currently under de- 

Steve, Kitchen, designer of 
Space Shuttle, at NASA. 


about the manned space pro- 
gram. The high point of the 
course let youngsters get the 
vicarious experience of 
spaceflight by "flying" a mis- 
sion, using Activision's Space 
Shuttle: A Journey Into 
Space, designed by Steve 
Kitchen for the Atari 2600. 

"I feel very strongly that 
expertise and information 
from outside the school en- 
vironment provides valid 
learning experiences for chil- 
dren," said Aaron Seandel, 
Associate Superintendent of 
Instruction for the district. 
"Schools have very limited re- 
sources, and we need people 
from private industry, NASA, 
and other outside sources to 
provide up-to-date informa- 
tion about the real world." 


Timex Corp. has decided to 
exit the computer biz. The 
company, best known for its 
line of economy watches, en- 
tered the industry late in 1 982 
with the Timex Sinclair 1000 
computer, priced at under 
$100. The TS- 1000 was wide- 
ly discounted through mass 
marketers to prices as low as 
$10, but even at that low cost 

the black and white computer 
failed to find the wide public 
acceptance the manufacturer 
wanted. New models in- 
troduced by the company 
were poorly received by re- 
tailers who had been dis- 
appointed in the reception of 
the TS-1000, so Timex de- 
cided to pull the plug on fu- 
ture computer operations. 


Send a business size, main software for the Atari 

stamped self-addressed en- 
velope to the Jacksonville 
Atari Computer Enthusiasts, 
1187 Dunbar Ct., Orange 
Park, Fl. 32873. They'll send 
you a catalog of public do- 

400/800. There are over 30 
programs listed including 
games, graphics, education- 
al, home and business utilit- 
ies, each selling for $7.95 per 

10 Electronic Games 


) £ - 

v/ < 




-'■ 3&*„ ,• ft-rU 

You're an Olympic athlete competing 
in eight key events at the Summer Games. 
How well can you score in track, swim- 
ming, diving, shooting, gymnastics and 
more? So realistic, there's even an 
opening ceremony and awards presen- 
tation after each event. 

Unlike other "Olympics- Like" games, 
Summer Games has incredible realism, 
superb state-of-the-art graphics and 
sound effects (including national anthems 
from 18 countries), and it is a true 
action -strategy game. In each event you 

must plan and execute your game 
strategy in order to maximize your score. 
It is not just a matter of how fast you 
can move the joystick. 

So change into your running shoes, 
grab your joystick and GO FOR 

One or more players; joystick controlled. 

Strategy Games for [fie Action-Game Player 




"Behind all our creativity, 
behind all our research, be- 
hind all our field testing is the 
overriding purpose of Rhian- 
non — to bridge the gap be- 
tween girls and computers," 
This statement explains why 
Lucy Ewell and Elizabeth Stott 
formed their company, 
Rhiannon, to create adven- 

tures for girls. The games fea- 
ture female protagonists 
based on real kids (the daugh- 
ters and nieces of the au- 
thors), and feature girl- 
pleasing scenarios that are, as 

nearly as possible, historically 
and geographically accurate 
— the animals and plants in 
each game are correct for 
their time and place. Jenny of 
the Prairie lets the player 

Rhiannon hopes to "bridge the gap between giris and computers" with new games. 

guide a pioneer girl through a 
hostile plains environment, 
gathering provisions for the 
winter and protecting herself 
from dangers. Cave Girl Clair 
gives 20th century girls a 
chance to experience the 
rigors of cave dwellers 
through interactive com- 
puterized fiction. Lauren of 
the 25th Century and Chelsea 
of the South Sea Islands com- 
plete the line. 

The games' purposes ex- 
tend beyond entertainment 
for young ladies. They'll help 
girls gel over their anti- 
computer biases, and develop 
good work habits. The docu- 
mentation with each game 
must be used throughout 
play, so kids get used to read- 
ing manuals. The system is 
friendly to experimentation, 
and there are no on-screen in- 
sults if the player makes an 
error. The games will be pub- 
lished by Addison-Wesley for 
Apple computers, and then 
will go multi-system. 


Polytel Computer Products 
Corp. has a new gadget that 
makes computers more ver- 
satile. The Keyport 717 is a 
flat membrane keyboard 
measuring 9 by 22 in., and 
connecting to the computer 
through the joyport. It con- 
tains 717 user-programmable 
keys, and each application 
program utilizes from 250 to 
300 of these. The function of 
each key is indicated on the 
flexible plastic program over- 
lay, and unused keys don't 
appear, so its easy to use even 
for non-programmers. In 
fact, some application pro- 
grams are even usable by pre- 
schoolers. Complex com- 
mands and menus are con- 
trolled just by touching one 



key, to enter data rapidly. It 
adapts itself for anyone wish- 
ing to design a keyboard lay- 
out for their own programs, 
and comes with blank over- 
lays for this purpose. 

The Keyport 717 interfaces 
to most popular computers, 
such as the Tandy Color Com- 


puter, Tl 99/4A, IBM-PC, and 
others. Right now application 
software is only available for 
Apple, but will be forthcom- 
ing for the IBM-PC soon, and 
for the Commodore 64 before 
year end. 

The first Keyport game, The 
Farm, is for kids under 10. It 
teaches them all about life on 
a farm, with 53 different an- 
imals and objects. Young 
computerists learn to read 
and type simple words, or 
even write stories using the 
pictures and words printed on 
the overlay. Other entertain- 
ments, such as The Seashore 
and The Jungle, should be 
available soon for most home 




Computing isn't just a 
man's sport any longer (if it 
ever was!). According to fi- 
gures just released by TALMIS 
(a market research firm) one 
out of every four home com- 
puters sold this year will be 
purchased by women. 

TALMIS surveys show that 
the fastest growing group of 
computer buyers is families 
with kids under 18. It's 
thought-provoking to note 
that women say they're more 
interested in the machines as 
entertainment devices, while 
man say they're buying them 
to help the kids improve their 
academic skills. Well, that's 
no surprise. Everyone knows, 
"girls just want to have fun!" 


HES (Human Engineered 
Software) has chosen an out- 
of-this-world spokes-being to 
present its products to the 
buying public. Taking up posi- 
tion as celebrity voice for the 
line is Leonard Nimoy, the 
much-traveled actor best 
known as the Vulcan Mr. 
Spock from the "Star Trek" 
television series . 

12 Electronic Games 


"Gitalong Zeke", sporting 
10-gallon hat, six-shooter 
and badge, is the sharp- 
shooting sheriff trying to keep 
the peace in The Tin Star, the 
latest coin-snatcher from 
Taito. Zeke rides into town, 
then faces various varmints 
and bandits in a high noon 
ambush. Bad guys fire from 
roof tops, windows, doors 
and the street, and roll barrels 
at Gitalong to divert his atten- 
tion or knock him down if he 
doesn't dodge. The next 
screen is a saloon shoot-out, 
then a corral brawl with dou- 
ble points for Zeke if he can 
climb ladders and jump on the 
bandits. The bonus round is a 
desert facedown between the 
lawman and the last outlaw. 

The second coin-op is 
Zeke's Peak. Players manipu- 
late a ball using a horizontal 
bar to zig-zag across the 
screen, avoiding trap holes, 
and going through tunnels to 
help Zeke reach the top. Car- 
toons of mountain climbers 
and cheering crowds, accom- 
panied by cheerful mountain 
music, surround the action, 
and each climb to the top is 
difference since new paths are 
plotted with every game. 






Synetix' SuperSprite has 
been making news since its in- 
troduction. The Apple periph- 
eral board provides animated 
sprite characters (large pro- 
grammable objects capable of 
independent movement) and 
background graphics, sound 
effects and synthesized 
speech to enhance the 
capabilities of the computer. 

Eight new programs use the 
board to produce dramatic 
and colorful graphics pre- 
viously impossible on the 
Apple. Entertainment titles in- 
clude Kobor, a maze-pursuit 
adventure, BaseballSprites 
and Assembly Line Madness 
(match auto parts to cars on a 
fast-moving assembly line.) 
There are also four education- 
al games, NumberSprites, 
AlphaSprites, SpriteArt and 

EG Readers Pick 
Their Favorite Games 


Popular Videogame Cartridges 









Came Title 







Atari 5200 







Parker Brothers 




Space Shuttle 

Atari 2600 





Time Pilot 






Mr. Do 







Atari 5200 





Miner 2049er 

Atari 5200 






Atari 2600 





Star Raiders 

Atari 5200 





Miner 2049er 


Micro Lab 




Pole Position 

Atari 5200 





Dig Dug 

Atari 5200 





River Raid 

Atari 2600 











Robot Tank 

Atari 2600 


Most Popular Computer Games 















Miner 2049er 

Most Systems 

Big Five/MicroLab, Reston 





Most Systems 





Buck Rogers 

Most Systems 

Coleco, Sega 






Creative Software 




Astro Chase 


First Star/Parker Bros. 




Lode Runner 

Most Systems 





Murder on Zinderneuf 

Most Systems 

Electronic Arts 




Star Raiders 






Pole Position 

Most Systems 





Blue Max 



Most Popular Coin-Op Videogames 

Position Timos 


Last On 


Month List Came 



1 4 Dragon's Lair 



2 5 Star Wars 



3 8 Pole Position 



New New Track and Field 



New New MA.C.H. 3 



— 5 Xevious 



New New Crystal Castle 



New New Pole Position II 



5 16 Dig Dug 



— 14 Tron 

Bally Midway 

Electronic C*m«i 13 




Spinnaker Software just en- 
tered into an agreement with 
Fisher Price to develop a line 
of titles for market under the 
FP banner. Fisher Price 
games, which will be available 
on cartridge for such popular 
home systems as the C-64, 
Atari and ColecoVision, will 
be developed in two age cat- 
egories, for youngsters 3 to 8 
and for older kids 8 to 12. 
They'll focus on math, lan- 
guage skills, creativity, learn- 
ing skills and computer litera- 


cy. Fisher Price, long the 
world's leaders in non- 
electronic educational games 
and toys, expects to have its 
first dozen electro-games in 
the stores by mid-summer 
1984. "By 1990, over 45% of 
all U.S. households will have 
at least one home computer. " 
Tricia Parks, Vice President 
Future Computing, Inc. 





Parker Brothers recently 
announced the winners of its 
C.I. Joe" Black Cobra Cont- 
est. Eleven players submitted 
snapshots of the G.I. Joe'" 

video game's 16th level, 
home of the dreaded Black 
Cobra, and were awarded 
Black Cobra Caps. Winners, 
listed in alphabetical order, 
are: Grant Anderson, 
Heyworth, IL; John Com- 
insky, Mechanicsburg, PA; 
Anthony Curro, New York, 
NY; Perry Dilbeck, McDo- 
nough, GA; Leo Evans, New 
York, NY; Howie Glassman, 
Bayside, NY; Timothy Houde, 
Southbridge, MA; Keven 
Kreitzer, Salem, OR; Stacey 
Teller, Staten Island, NY; 
David Vankirk, Portsmouth, 
OH: Mitchell Whitmgton. 
Garland, TX. 

Konami toasts opening of new R&D building (right) in Osaka, Japan. 


Mr. Matsuda, one of Kona- 
mi's founders, Mr. Ishihara, 
creator of Track & Field, and 
Mr. Kozuki, President of 

preside in a traditional 
Japanese ceremony, battering 
open a drum of saki to serve 
to guests as they toast the 

Konami, are shown as they success of Konami's new Re- 

search and Development 
building in Osaka. The five- 
story, 28,000 sq. ft. structure 
houses 150 engineers. 


Know someone who lives, 
sleeps and eats computers? 
This can be literally true with a 
solid chocolate replica of a 
micro from Long Grove Con- 
fectionery Co., Long Grove IL. 
The 3 in. x 5 in. x 4 in. treat is 
$9.95 and comes in a gift box 
decorated with a computer 
printout motif. 


Timeworks has a good deal 
for Commodore owners. 
Send in your existing Time- 
works cassette plus a $4.70 
handling fee, and the com- 
pany will exchange the cas- 
sette for a disk format of the 
same program. 

Spilled something on your 
favorite game disk? Maybe it 
can be saved. A User Care 
Emergency Disk Saver Kit lets 
you remove the con- 
taminated disk from its jacket, 
clean it, and insert it into a 
new disk jacket. The $23 kit 
comes with cleaning pads, 
jacket, disc and drive cleaner, 
swabs, wipe cloths and com- 
plete instructions. The com- 
pany also markets a Cartridge 
Care System ($8.95) to keep 
those valuable carts running 

CompuServe has a new 
service just for Coleco Adam 
computer owners. Adam-On- 

Line will provide users with in- 
formation on new Adam 
hardware and software de- 
velopments, and other in- 
formation of special interest 
to Adamites. It eventually will 
become the basis for a user's 
group for owners to exchange 
programming ideas. 

Need a cheat sheet to write 
commands and information 
needed for C-64 and IBM PC 
programs? Blanks are avail- 
able, 1 2 to a pack, from Bytes 
& Pieces, for $15.95. at most 
computer stores. 

After last year's experiment 
in price-shaving, Penguin 
Software has raised the tag on 
all single-disk games to 
$29.95, and two-sided pro- 
grams to $34.95. Company 
spokesmen attributed the in- 
crease to the high cost of de- 
velopment, promotion and 

General Electric also an- 

nounced price increases, 
approximately 6% on all 
rechargeable batteries. 
However, the company is 
reducing the price for battery 
chargers by 9% to 13%. GE's 
marketing manager, Ronald 
Bridgers, says this goes along 
with the company's razor 
blade strategy, saying "Our 
marketing research indicates 
that these.. chargers will each 
pull up to ten additional batt- 
ery sales.'' 

Over 100 independent 
software and hardware com- 
panies are preparing libraries 
of software and peripherals 
for the Apple Macintosh com- 
puter. Among the companies 
announcing products to be 
available this year are Blue 
Chip Software (Millionaire, 
Tycoon, Baron and Squire), 
Infocom (the entire line of 
text adventures), Scarbor- 
ough Systems (Run For The 

Money), Simon & Schuster 
(Typing Tutor) and Sir-Tech 

Softdisk, the monthy 
publication-on-disk for Apple 
pickers, has expanded its 
circulation to retail outlets. 
Each monthly offering fea- 
tures programming tech- 
niques, hints, tips, a variety of 
useful programs, games, 
novelties, plus a great deal of 
interaction between subscrib- 
ers in an almost club-like 

14 Electronic Games 


"Chips & Changes", the 
high-tech traveling show that 
will be touring American sci- 
ence museums for the next 
two years, has attracted sup- 
port from Scholastic. The soft- 
ware company will provide 
exhibits on microcomputer 
education, featuring hands- 

on demos of Spelldiver and 
Agent USA, games designed 
by Tom Snyder. 

Verbatim Corp. has pub- 
lished a disk with the three 
winners of the first "Compu- 
ter Edgame Challenge". The 
games test match, spelling 
and vocabulary skills of 
elementary students. The trio 

Standguard is a combined 
computer keyboard cover/ 
bookstand made of smoke 
colored K-resin plastic. Used 
as a protector, it shields the 
keyboard from dust, liquids 
and other accidents, then acts 
as a bookstand to hold man- 

needed. The kit requires op- 
ening the computer and mak- 
ing three simple solder con- 
nections, which the manufac- 
turer promises is so easy a 
novice can do it. 

The new Data Spec key- 
board is the only detached 

uals and instructions at eye 
level while the computer is in 
use. It measures 16" high and 
9" wide, with the back open 
to leave breathing space over 
the air vents. It works with 
most home computers, such 
as the Atari, Apple, C-64, and 
VIC-20, and is available for 
$16.95 (plus handling) from 
DMI Products, 740 Colfax 
Ave., Kenilworth, NJ 07033, 
phone 201-241-1471. 

Some older models of the 
Commodore 64 have in- 
terference problems due to RF 
emissions from the computer 
unit. An Interference Filter Kit 
for $15.95 from Bytes & 
Pieces may be all that's 

keyboard we've seen for the 
Apple II/II + . Just plug it in 
and the 10 ft. cable lets com- 
puterists sit wherever they 
wish, instead of being glued 
to the front of the monitor. 
For ease of use, the keyboard 
has 97 function keys, includ- 
ing a full ASCII character set 
with upper and lower case 
letters, plus mathematical 
function keys, a 10-key 
numeric pad, and key words 
used in basic programming. 

Commodore's new Model 
16 computer is aimed at be- 
ginning computerists. It holds 
16,000 bits of information, 
and will sell for about $100. 

The TGM-300 from TG 



of programs is available for 
Apple II computer owners, for 
$3.50 from The Verbatim 
Computer Edgame Chal- 
lenge, 4966 El Camino Real, 
Suite 228, Los Altos, Ca. 

Mylstar Electronics liked 
the way Parker Brothers 
handled the home marketing 

of Q'bert, so signed a pact to 
give Parker the right of first 
refusal for home versions of 
all Mylstar games for the next 
three years. The two compan- 
ies expect the relationship to 
make it easier to work 
together in developing new 
games, as well as coordinat- 
ing marketing efforts. 



Products is a 300 baud, full 
duplex, serial asynchronous 
modem for under $100. It 
works with Atari XL comput- 
ers, Commodore 64 and VIC- 
20, and plugs directly into the 
computer without cables. 
It makes automatic dialing 
available so it's easier for 
home users to connect to in- 
formation services like The 
Source or CompuServe. 

Surges can get your com- 
puter down quicker than any- 
thing except spilled Pepsi. 
There may not be much you 
can do about the latter, ex- 
cept for barring beverages 
from the computer room, but 
Spikemaster from Discwasher 
is just the cure for power sur- 
ges that can actually wipe out 
programs or even damage the 
computer itself. Just plug it in, 
and a five-part filter with five 
surge suppression devices, 

RFI filtering, and circuit break- 
er will protect your expensive 
equipment. It features four 
sockets, heavy-duty cord, and 
an indicator light to let you 
know it's on the job. 

Concorde Peripheral Sys- 
tems has high-quality disk 
drive systems for virtually ev- 
ery major personal computer, 
including Atari, Commodore, 
IBM, Radio Shack, and Apple. 
All products carry a 1 2-month 
over-the-counter- exchange 
guarantee, and are subjected 
to exhaustive tests before 
they leave the factory. Built-in 
glass bonded heads, brushless 
D.C. motor and an opto- 
isolator LED combination pro- 
vide instant correction for 
drive speed variations and 
maximize track zero es- 
tablishments. The company 
estimates a 10,000-hour 
mean time failure rate. 


Electronic Games 15 


Infocom's Seastalker, avail- 
able for most computer sys- 
tems, is an interactive text 
adventure with beginners in 
mind. It's tailored for any 
player nine or over, who be- 
comes the main character 
throughout the story, which 
Infocom describes as "an 
adventure in the tradition of 
Jules Verne's '20,000 Leagues 
Under The Sea'." 

Viking Raider, from In- 
terphase, uses an unusual 
cartridge diskette combin- 
ation for the Commodore 64, 
which the manufacturer 
hopes will ease the piracy 
problem. Some commands 
are encoded on the cassette 
and others on disk, and the 
game won't run unless both 
are in place. The action 
adventure game features 128 
outdoor screens, plus another 
30-plus indoor scenes. Leif, 
the heroic Viking, seeks trea- 
sure, food and other goodies 
as he struggles to overcome 
Frost Giants, dragons, trolls 
and other obstacles that bar 
his path to the imprisoned 
Queen and the throne. 

Zenji, Activision's latest 
game by Matthew Hubbard 
for the Atari computers and 
5200, was inspired by Far 
Eastern philosophy. "Zenji" is 
a form of meditation that 
helps students reach 
enlightenment. The game fe- 
atures a maze of elements 
that must be united, using the 
joystick to direct a rolling 
head and connect the differ- 
ent parts. 

Malicious machines are on 
the march, in two robotic re- 
leases from Atari. Robotron: 
2084 pits players against ram- 
pant robots, with special dual 
controllers. The player puts 
both joysticks into a plastic 
holder that comes with the 
game. It keeps the sticks firm, 
so the left can maneuver the 
on-screen hero while the right 
operates his laser gun. Ber- 
zerk lets the player face robot 
guards as he moves through a 
maze, as a built-in voice gives 
auditory clues ("Intruder 
alert!") and challenges 
("Chicken! Fight like a 
robot!") Both are available for 
the Atari 5200, and Robot- 
ron: 2084 is also on-line for 
the Atari home computers 
and Commodore 64. 

Imagic and Amiga have 
made a deal to allow 2600- 
compatible carts like Demon 
Attack, Cosmic Ark and Dra- 
gonfire to be included in one 
of Amiga's multi-program 
Powerplay Arcade games. 
The new format utilizes a pro- 
prietory switching chip to al- 
low production of a cart, with 
up to 32 K of memory which 
can be divided in 4K- 

Activision expects to be 
producing more than a com- 
puter game per month by this 
winter. The software com- 
pany has a pact with Action 
Graphics to deliver 15 titles. 
Action Graphics has already 
completed the Activision car- 
tridge versions of Beamrider 
and Pitfall! for play on Col- 

Mirror Images gives com- 
puterists a fish-eyed view of 
the IBM-PC. Freddy Fish casts 
the gamer in the title role, on 
an aquatic quest to free cap- 
tured friends. Freddy's natural 
enemies are larger fish and 
frogmen, as he maneuvers 
through a maze of nets and 
fish hooks through various 
play screens. 

Bounty Hunter is a full- 
length text adventure set in 

the Old West for the Adam 
computer, from Victory Soft- 
ware, It's available on cassette 
tape for the Adam's digital 
data drive. 

Control a flying cab in a 
23rd century city in Space 
Taxi, the new arcade-style 
game from Muse for play on 
the C-64. Electro-gamers try 
to earn as many fares and tips 
as possible, while avoiding 
moving obstacles through 24 
screens. Collect enough, and 
an additional bonus screen 
combines arcade action with 
fantasy features. .but so far no 
one, not even the game's au- 
thor, has made it through all 
25 screens. 

Hes Games 84, for play on 
the C-64 from HesWare, uses 
life-like animated characters 
in a simulation based on the 
1984 Summer Olympic 
Games. Weightlifting, diving, 
running, long jump, archery 
and hurdles events are fea- 
tured against a backdrop of 
cheering spectators. For an 
additional note of sports- 
realism, the program features 
instant replay capabilities, and 
allows users to save their best 
performances at any event. 
Where appropriate, the pro- 
gram displays world records. 


The latest wrinkle in soft- 
ware is a whole new category 
of diversions — non-gaming 
pastime programs, like Puzzle 
Mania from Reader's Digest 
that lets Apple users assemble 
seven different jigsaws at six 
different skill levels. . . Paint 
Magic from Datamost for the 
C-64 helps would-be artists 
draw pictures on screen, then 
provides a palette of 16 colors 
to paint the finished scene. . . 
The Commodore 64 can tell a 
story to a preschooler, in Little 
Red Riding Hood from Play- 
ground Software. It's got 
colorfully-animated graphics 
that allow young electro- 

gamers to interact with the 
story. . .Synapses Relax! was 
designed to make tense com- 
puterists cool off as they 
monitor their own nervous- 
ness in a program designed to 
calm the uptight . . .Aerobics 
by Spinnaker (C-64 and Atari 
computers) is a complete 
physical fitness program. Fol- 
low the energetic on-screen 
instructor through exercise 
sequences custom designed 
for each user's specific needs, 
whether it's a basic routine for 
overall fitness or specific ex- 
ercises to concentrate on 
problem areas. . . After all that 
exercise, surely you deserve a 

treat! Jewish Compu-Chef, 

by Davka Corp., lets cooks 
choose traditional ethnic and 
American recipes by name, in- 
gredients or classification, 
then automatically adjusts the 
recipe to the number of serv- 
ings desired, and even prints 
out a shopping list to buy the 
required ingredients. It's a 
good way to recapture some 
of those calories you worked 

That's just a hint of some of 
the great amusements com- 
ing on-line. In fact, entertain- 
ment software is so hot that 
EG is introducing a new col- 
umn this month in the com- 
puter section to look at these 
recreational products 


Scholastic Wizware has the 
ticket to let you ride the rails 
with Agent USA as you try to 
catch up with the FuzzBomb 
that's taking over America. 
The program teaches map 
reading, geography and time 
management, but the game is 
so engrossing, the student will 
never notice. . . If you'd rather 
run the railway empire than 
be a passenger, Trains by 
Spinnaker will put you in the 
engineer's seat. Pick up logs 
at the lumber camp to deliver 
to the sawmill and ore for the 
factory, as you learn the basic 
principles of running a busi- 
ness, like managing financial 
resources, setting priorities 
and meeting deadlines. . . M- 
ss-ng L-nks from Sunburst 
uses passages from well- 
known kid's lit to form cryptic 
puzzles. It omits letters, then 
challenges the player to read 
the text, in nine difficulty 
levels that range from omit- 
ting just the vowels, to omit- 
ting the words altogether! It 
improves reading, writing, 
spelling, grammar and 
punctuation skills. . . 

The Game Show, from 
Advanced Ideas, uses a quiz- 
show format to teach vocab- 
ulary and information, pre- 
senting clues to help players 
win the rounds. . .Electronic 
Arts' Word Flyer asks com- 
puterists to pick up a word 
and match it with the one 
zooming by in the sky. Starts 
out easy enough for ore- 
readers, but gets faster . Q 

16 Electronic G»me4 


On page 57 of your May issue, you 
had the picture of Atari 2600's De- 
fender upside down. Also, on page 60, 
your picture of Caverns of Mars is 
labelled Starmaster. You know, the 

last thing I want to see is that a great 
magazine like Electronic Games over- 
looked a mistake (or two). 

An "it's-my-first-subscription-and- 
l-love-it" fan. 

Justin Hokamura 
Maui, Hawai 

Ed: Thanks for helping us set the re- 
cord straight, Justin. And while we're at 
it, in the same issue, The Pit was in- 
advertently labelled Mr. TNT. And, in 
Stand-Alone-Scene, we showed a 
photo of the hand-held Popeye when 
we meant to show the table-topper. 
Sincere apologies to all concerned. 


In my opinion, EG has been too 
favorable to Coleco's Adam. I bought 
the Adam add-on module in Decem- 
ber Within hours the printer broke 
down. Needless to say, I was very dis- 
appointed, having eagerly awaited 
this "revolutionary" computer which 
would "change family computing." 

Don't get me wrong. There are 
many things about the computer that I 
like. But when you cover this machine, 
you exclude one important aspect — 
its marketing. By rushing it into release 
during the holiday season, Coleco has 
turned the Adam from a probable hit 
to a possible failure. 

I know of four people who bought 
the Adam. All of them had to return it 
within a month. Each Adam had a dif- 
ferent problem, demonstrating that 
it's laden with defects in every com- 
ponent. Another problem is the repair 
policy. If the computer is defective, 
you must send the entire machine to 
the UPS or to a repair center. If you 
own a defective Colecovision Adam 
module, you have to send the Col- 
ecovision also! 

I showed Coleco how angry I was. I 
returned my Adam and bought an- 
other microcomputer, which I am fully 
satisfied with. 

Ben Stein 
Bronx, NY 

Electronic Games 17 

right when the stick was centered. 
(Three down.) That one was replaced. 
Now, both are not working properly 
again. That's five sticks that bit the 
dust in less than five months. I'm not 
hard on joysticks. 

Thanks but no thanks, I'll stick with 
a stick that'll last. 

Jay Hatcher 
Farmington Hills, Ml 


After reading the reply to Kenneth 
Jeras' letter in your March issue, I felt a 
responsibility to answer it. First let me 
say that I am an avid reader of your 
magazine. I respect it and depend on it 
for information about my hobby. 

I am a recent purchaser of the Atari 
600XL computer. Included in the box 
was a paper filled with information on 
warranties, etc. On the paper there's 
an section called "Disclaimer of 
warranties on computer programs." 
The following is an excerpt: "Atari 
home programs are distributed on an 
as is basis without a warranty of any 
kind. Should the program prove de- 
fective the consumer assumes full cost 
of all servicing." 

As long as companies continue with 


Please spread the word about the 
Wico joystick for the Atari 5200. With 
the 5200 joystick I got to screen 5 on 
Miner 2049er after two months. Three 
days after I got the Wico stick, I got to 
screen 10. 

The Wico joystick overcomes the 
major problem with the Atari 5200 — 
non-centering. It makes Pac-Man 
playable again. 

Fred Solmer 
South Bend, IN 


In January I bought two Wico con- 
trollers for my Atari 5200. One with 
the keyboard and one without it. Both 
came out of the box defective. (Off to 
a fabulous start.) Both were replaced. 
Later, with one stick, even with the 
left/ right trim control all the way left, 
the on-screen character still moved 

18 Electronic Games 

this kind of policy, I feel the consumer 
should have the right to make copies 
for private use. 

Anthony Milazzo 
Staten Island, NY 
Ed: The best way to make your dis- 
pleasure known is to write to the cus- 
tomer relations office of any software 
manufacturer that doesn't warranty 
its products. While your annoyance is 
certainly justified, EG still can't en- 
dorse copying programs illegally. If a 
software manufacturer won't warran- 
ty its goods, enough angry letters from 
buyers — and potential buyers — 
should help it see the error of its ways. 


Ed: In response to overwhelming re- 
quests from fans all over the country, 
the address of Don Bluth 's fan club is: 
Don Bluth Animation Club, P. O. Box 
398, Tarzana, CA91356. Membership 
is $10 for U.S. citizens, $12 for over- 
seas fans. 


The May EG carried "Tops & Flops" 
a humorous piece of recounting some 
of the highs and lows of the 1983 
gaming year. Though it was intended 
strictly in fun, our veiled reference to 
the president of a Texas-based soft- 
ware company who bought a helicop- 
ter instead of hiring some graphics ex- 
perts has had an unexpected — and 
somewhat ironic — fallout. 

It seems that presidents of Texas- 
based software companies are getting 
dozens of calls from alert readers look- 
ing for a chance to pick up a slightly 
used helicopter at a bargain price. Be 
advised, the company to which the 
item alluded has long since filed chap- 
ter 11. Its president — with or without 
the chopper is not known — is no long- 
er active within the industry. Do not 
confuse that company with any of the 
excellent software houses which are 
still in operation and do not have 
helicopters for sale. 


The enclosed photograph shows 
one of two glitches I encountered with 
Atari's Space Dungeon. This was the 
starting room on level 7 It originally 
had one door. After leaving the room, I 
immediately got killed and returned to 
this room while the door was still flash- 
ing. This turned it into a solid wall. Of 
course, the game is over at this point, 
unless you want to stay in this room 

The second glitch I saw was that the 


room containing the "collect bonus" 
box had no doors at all. This prevented 
the player from going on to deeper 

Jim Buszkiewicz 
New Carlisle, IN 
Ed: Congratulations on winning your 
Paxxon Pac-Man wall clock, Jim — 
and a special thanks for the photo of 
your glitch, the first one we ever re- 


I found a hidden message in Atari's 
coin-op Star Wars. After you have shot 
the exhaust port in the Death Star and 
just before it blows up, it reads "May 
the Force be with you." There are 
other messages on the Death Star on 

different waves, but they're not as 


Steve Distler 
Hugo, MN 

Got a computer or videogame club 
you'd like us to know about? Drop a 
line to Electronic Games Magazine. 
Whether the club is for a particular 
game, game system, computer, etc, 
we'd really like to hear about it. Q 

Every dog must have his play: Joe 
Cocker, owned by Bonnie Mayerson. 




STAR WARS' T the arcade game that blew its way to the top of the charts, is coming home. 
TIE FIGHTERS'," fireballs, catwalks, they're all there in 3 of the hottest action screens in any 
galaxy. There is only one STAR WARS: THE ARCADE GAME'." For the Atari 2600, 5200, Atari 
Home Computers, Coleco Vision and the Commodore 64. .f^MRKER BROTHERS 

"«' 1983 1 ucastilm I id ILFL 1. All nghrs reserved. Parker Brothers, a division ol CPG Products Corp.. authorued user 
Aran,' Alan 2600. " and Atari 5200' are trademarks ol Atari, Inc. ColccoVision is a trademark of Coleco Industries. Inc. 
Commodore 64 is a trademark ol Commodore Business Machines, inc Parker Brothers is not affiliated with Atari. Inc 
Coleco Industries. Inc. or Commodore Business Machines. Inc. 

Electronic Games 19 





























FBI 1 



'■e-/ 1 ?Av 

jjA emember the first time you saw 
■m "Star Wars"? The George Lucas 
science fantasy epic filled audiences 
with awe, amazement and a sense of 
wonder with its mixture of "B" movie 
thrills and "A" movie production 
values and artistic sensibilities. 

When Atari and Lucasfilm an- 
nounced their joint venture approx- 
imately 18 months ago, the project 
raised a storm of interest — and 
perhaps a few sceptical eyebrows 
as well. Would Atari be able to cap- 
ture Lucasfilm lightning in a car- 
tridge? How much could and would 
Lucasfilm contribute to the finished 
software? Can filmmakers really 
make games? 

The first two titles designed by 
Lucasfilm and distributed under the 
Lucasfilm-Atari banner provide 
emphatic answers to these questions 
which silence all doubters. Rescue on 
Fractalus and Ballblazer bear the un- 
mistakable Lucas imprint, and what's 
more important, both programs are 
superior games. Under the leadership 
of director, Stephen D. Arnold, and 
Peter S. Langston, director of game 
development, Lucasfilm's Computer 
Division has vaulted directly into the 
front ranks of the software design 
houses. The approach epitomized 
cartridges that materially advance the 

Rescue on Fractalus is probably the 
more expectable of the two releases, 
since it is precisely the kind of science 
fiction romp that earned the company 
its reputation. It's a first-person flying 
simulation in which the player dares a 
mission behind enemy lines to rescue 
downed pilots. The gamer blasts 
toward the enemy planet from a 
mothership and skims low over the 
surface of the world looking for the 
stranded spacemen while avoiding 
murderous ground- and air-based fire. 

The greatness of Rescue on Fracta- 
lus lies in the wealth of detail which the 

The Ballblazer rotofoil in real life. The 

gamer "sits inside" during 

the first-person perspective game. 

design team, under project director 
David Fox, included to enhance the 
simulation. "I want to make games 
that transpose someone to a different 
reality," says Fox, whose ultimate 
ambition is to create a Dream Park 
filled with full-dimension simulations. 
"That's why the rescue ship launches 
from a mothership. We didn't want to 
just start the game right on the surface 
of the planet." 

Even scoring can't burst this fantasy 
bubble. "Although it was an early 
suggestion," says Fox, "we decided 
not to put the player's score on the 
door of the mothership, because it 
would have broken the fantasy." 

Fox and his cohorts have furnished 
video pilots with a smorgasbord of 
meters, lights, gauges and screens, all 
well-arrayed on a control panel lo- 
cated directly beneath the main view- 
screen. "I spent a week or two with 
paper, drawing the panel with the in- 
struments we'd need," explains Fox. 
Sometimes, that meant removing a 
useful, but not vital, instrument. "We 
originally had 4X magnification for the 
long-range scanner, but people sel- 
dom used it during the test games, so 
we took it out." 

Taking things out can sometimes 
have as great a bearing on the quality 
of the finished game as what the de- 
signers actually include in the pro- 
gram. That's why the Lucasfilm design 
team made such a concerted effort to 
streamline the play-mechanics of Res- 
cue on Fractalus. "We could have 
made a whole game out of landing the 
ship", David Fox points out, "but that 
would've been beside the point. 
That's what makes this game 
^ so user friendly." 

A lot of elements which are less- 
than-critically important to the actual 
game play nonetheless do much to 
create a realistic feel. After you spot a 
downed flyerand zoom to his position, 
hauling him aboard your vessel isn't 
abstract and automatic. The spaceman 
runs up to the landing site and raps 
loudly on the hull to let you know he 
wants to get inside. You must then 
open the airlock so he can enter, and 
close it again to ready the ship for 

The system of fractile geometry 
which generates the planetary land- 
scape is another gaming first from 
Lucasfilm. Benoit Mandelbrot of IBM 
conceived fractiles and has sub- 
sequently developed the notion in 
several books. Loren Carpenter, who 
first joined Lucasfilm to work on imag- 
ing for movies, did pioneering work on 
fractiles and, in 1980, discovered a 
method which produced quick appro- 
ximations of the fractile concept. His 
two minute film, "Vol Libre" (which 
translates as "Free Flight") garnered 
much attention with its use of fractiles. 

Buoyed by this success, Carpenter 
next wanted to utilize fractiles in a 
real-time setting. Working with David 
Fox, who shared an office with him at 
that point, they started trying to apply 
fractiles to games. "The question was, 
'Could it be scaled down?' ", Carpen- 
ter remembers. "We first thought 
about going for a 2 1 /2-dimension 

Lucasfilm Premieres First Two Games 
Can it become a Force in electronic gaming? 


Electronic Games 21 


effect like Night Driver, but it was a 
little boring. 

"We decided to shoot for a con- 
sistent three-dimensional environ- 
ment," he concludes. "We wanted 
one general algorithm that creates 
an image in any direction." Their re- 
search produced an application of 
fractile geometry that was fast enough 
to use in the game. Fortunately, sugg- 
est Fox and Carpenter, they were 
working on Atari hardware. "A slower 
machine would have been impos- 
sible," Carpenter admits. 

"Of course, we didn't want to say, 
'Fractiles are it', and stop there, "Da- 
vid Fox points out. "We didn't want 
to get too cocky, so we spent lots of 
time developing the background for 
the game." 

The original shape of the Atari- 
Lucasfilm agreement, under which the 
movie company was to make software 
suitable for the 2600, made the idea of 
using scaled-down fractiles unwork- 
able. Carpenter and Fox codified their 
work in a document and put it aside 
against the day of future need. 

That day came sooner than anyone 
expected when the focus shifted 
toward doing software for the more 
advanced Atari systems. Out of moth- 
balls came the fractiles. 

The theory may be a mite esoteric, 
but no one can quarrel with the out- 
standing results fractiles made possi- 
ble. It produces a landscape of moun- 
tains and valleys which in all ways 
function as though they had a con- 
crete, spatial existence. In Rescue on 
Fractaius, a pilot can fly through a cleft 
between two peaks, loop around and 
encounter the same terrain features in 
the same relative positions when 
approaching from the opposite direc- 

This complex and consistant gaming 
environment is one of the things which 
stamps Fractaius as a "second wave" 
game. "Originally, there was no 
shooting at all," says David Fox. "A 
tracking ship chased you around the 
planet. There was a rear-view screen 
that helped the player keep tabs on it." 
Eventually, the team opted for a dash 
of combat and eliminated the shadow 
ship and rear screen. 

Ballblazer, the other Lucasfilm crea- 

22 Electronic Games 

tion, is cut from a different bolt of 
cloth. It's a mechanized sport of the 
future that matches two athletes, each 
riding a light and maneuverable craft 
called a rotofoil. Each side's rotofoil 
cruises over the checkerboard play- 
field, trying to capture an elusive ball 
and either carry or blast it through the 
other contestant's goal pylons. On de- 
fense, the rotofoil is employed like a 
hockey or soccer goalie. 

Unlike other sports simulations, the 
horizontally split screen shows each 
player what's happening on the field, 
exactly as he or she would see it when 
looking through the rotofoil's face 

plate. Play is head-to-head against an- 
other human, or solitaire versus any of 
several droid (computer-directed) op- 

According to project leader and 
principal designer David Levine, get- 
ting Ballblazer's distinctive playing 
surface to look right required a major 
push. It was the kind of solitary battle 
which a dedicated designer must suc- 
cessfully wage to transform a good 
game into a great one. 

The problem was a visual phenom- 
enon called "aliasing". In the world of 
computer graphics, it's the term 
which describes the annoying stair- 

Lucasfilm game designers hard 
at work on the elements that 
go towards making unusual 
and playable games. Atten- 
tion to details, including scale 
models, is a hallmark of the 
company's games as well as of 
the popular series of Star Wars 

step effect that drawing diagonal lines 
generally produces. 

The condition stems from under- 
sampling by the computer. A straight 
line has an infinite number of points, 
but computers can only check a finite 
number in creating a representation 
of that infinite reality. "In Ballblazer, 
the aliasing was particularly noticeable 
whenever the playfield moved back 
and forth," recalls David Levine. Since 
the checkerboard stays in more-or-less 
constant motion, the perfectionist in 
Levine found it unendurable. 

He hurdled this barrier by develop- 
ing a mathematical model that, in the 

minuteness of its detail, far surpassed 
the capabilities of the computer sys- 
tem. "The model is totally in- 
dependent of the actual graphics," 
Levine explains. 

Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus 
are both available on cartridge for the 
Atari home computer, the 5200 Super 
System and the brand new 7800 Pro 
System. The 7800 versions might have 
an edge in graphics, but all are basical- 
ly of the same high quality. 

A company that loves sequels as 
much as Lucasfilm will probably not 
abandon two such lovely scenarios af- 
ter only one game each. Already, there 

are whispers about a multi-players- 
per-side version of Ballblazer. 

The prediction most likely to come 
true, however, is that the Games Divi- 
sion of Lucasfilm will again strike out in 
new directions. The company has a 
positive fear of resting on its laurels, 
and with a wealth of design talent on 
hand, those far design horizons are 
beckoning. So be here next year for 
Atari-Lucasfilm, chapter 2. 


The sounds of "Star Wars" were 
nearly as exciting as the special effects, 
and the company's game designers 
would have been as apt to neglect the 
player's ears as his eyes. The use of 
music and sound effects to flag game- 
events and to generally reinforce the 
simulation in Ballblazer and Fractalus 
sets new standards for home arcading. 

The audio for Ballblazer in particular 
is ground breaking. The staccato, per- 
cussive score underlines the im- 
mediacy of the first-person viewpoint 
and raises the on-the-field drama to 
nail-biting level. 

"The development of the sound 
was pivotal," agrees David Levine, the 
guitar-strumming designer who per- 
sonally supervised this aspect of the 
cartridge. The reaction to the basic 
score was nothing short of electric at 
Lucasfilm. "It wasn't long before peo- 
ple up and down the row of offices 
here had copies. You could walk down 
the corridor and hear it every step of 
the way," he says. "Of, course, all 
those tapes weren't synchronized," 
Levine adds ruefully. 

While toiling away on other aspects 
of the game, it was inevitable that 
Levine would get to hear his catchy 
little tune about four hours a day. "The 
repetition got to me," he confesses. 

At least partially to save his sanity, 
Levine decided to try something really 
radical. He contacted a number of 
musician friends — all professionals in 
the blues, jazz, rock and classical fields 
— and asked them to provide an im- 
provisational phrase based on the 
elemental Ballblazer anthem. In the 
sports' mythos, as chronicled by its de- 
signer, each master Ballblazer star 
gets the honor of adding a musical 
phrase to the overall theme that, in 

Electronic G»m« 23 


some sense, sums up the style of play 
which has made him or her great. 

So when you're rocketing toward 
the opposing goal pylons, it's to the 
beat of a complex, textured audio 
track that never sounds quite the same 
twice in a row. 


Are Rescue on Fractalus and Ball- 
blazer innovative, or are they only 
familiar echoes from an unexpected 

"Ballblazer is a logical evolution 
from Pong," quips David Levine. In a 
philosophical sense, he's right. Of 
course, International Soccer (Com- 
modore), Starleague Baseball 
(Gamestar), and, in a larger sense, ev- 
ery action game that uses an on- 
screen cursor controlled by a joystick 
or paddle is also "a logical evolution 
from Pong. " 

That said, it's fairly easy to make a 
case for Ballblazer as a real trailblazer 
No sports simulation has given players 
the immediacy of the first-person 
viewpoint. Add the inventive use of 
audio to dramatize the action and the 
eyepopping visual effect of that 
checkerboard playfield, and you've 
got quite a fresh and novel game on 
your hands. 

Ballblazer 's sports simulation pedi- 
gree is too obvious to need much 


elaboration, but Lucasfilm's design 
squad has done much, much more 
than just refine existing play and au- 
diovisual elements. Ballblazer 
represents a wholly new way to trans- 
late sports action to the gaming 

Rescue on Fractalus is hardly the 
first, first-person flying game to rocket 
across the gaming firmament. Atari's 
own Star Raiders, a long-time favorite 
of EC's readers, has been around for 
years. The greatness of this game is 
that it builds on the foundation of earl- 
ier efforts by immersing players in a 
much more comprehensive and in- 
tricately crafted scenario. 

In short, Rescue on Fractalus is a 
"second generation" computer game 
that pushes state-of-the-art forward 
in a wide variety of areas. The three- 
dimensional terrain makes a vastly 
more interesting play-environment 
than a field of rushing stars, and the 

A sample of some of the details of Ballblazer in the planning stage. 

ability to present such a finely detailed 
planetary surface allows the program 
to challenge the gamer with a mission 
that's a bit more plausible than taking 
on a universe full of aliens in a single 


It would be hard to find a more 
modest bunch than the Lucasfilm 
Games Division. From the moment the 
ink was dry on the Atari- Lucasfilm 
pact, the movie company has 
approached the task of creating 
electronic games with one eye firmly 
fixed on the yellow caution light. 

In fact, Rescue on Fractalus and 
Ballblazer turned out to be a highly 
successful example of "learning by do- 
ing". Originally, both games were in- 
tended as merely a pilot project, a cou- 
ple of titles that Lucasfilm could carry 
from conception to cartridge to get the 
hang of the process. Steve Arnold's 
charges learned the necessary lessons 
so quickly and so well however, that 
their initial programs turned out to be 
right up there with the best. 

The use of strategies developed in 
the course of making the "Star Wars" 
trilogy and other movies is what sepa- 
rates Lucasfilm from other design 
houses. The approach epitomized 
by the tavern scene in "Star Wars" 
helped shape Ballblazer and Rescue. 
With software, as with movies, 
Lucasfilm believes in compiling de- 
tailed descriptions of the reality to be 
simulated before worrying about the 
simulation itself. Just as every alien in 
the cantma has a detailed species and 
personal history that never comes di- 
rectly into the film, Lucasfilm's game 
designers can tell you everything — 
from what the pilot's uniform in Res- 
cue looks like and when and how 
Ballblazing become the most popular 
sport in the cosmos. Lucasfilm has 
even constructed three-dimensional 
models of key objects like the rotofoil. 
It is, perhaps, too soon to evaluate 
the contribution of Lucasfilm to game 
design. But if creating entertainment 
software is truly an art form, then the 
folks who gave us Luke Skywalker and 
Darth Vader are major contributors to 
the perfection of that art. G 

24 Electronic Gamw 

murk of Sears Roebuck and Co C i s»t»j Aiari lac All Ki^hta RnarwMl 

Which player is 
winging his way to victory ? 

■ ■ 


When Joust* flu's into your Living room you might think you're in the arcade 
Because inst like the arcade this Joust is a duel to the Finish But remember some jousts are worth more than others The knight on the right, for 
example is about to score 500 points for lancing a red Bounder But the knight 
on the left will score three times as many tor skewering a blue Shadow Lord 
l'i i. it ought to needle hts opponent 

You icin s|*'ar yourself a lot more points Espe 
»i.ills in the Kgg Wave Pick upas many eggs as 
you can beforethey hatch The tost eggs worth 850 
points the second 5(X) the third 750, and the fourth 

l UOO points 

oiii> M.iii makes Joust tor the ATARI* 3600" 
Game Seal's Video Arcade* systems, and versions 
exclusively tor the ATARI 5200" SuperSystem 
and all ATARI Rome Computers 

So mount your ostrich and de aha ■*"% I 

fiivl on voui uratvsl ■.: ^A I ** Im I 

Kot Joust ^"%I*%IVI 

Q \ V\ n i.- 1 » . -l i : ii ll u i. ,><. i. mi-- t |'!"i 



■ ■ 

EC's Exclusive Report 
on the New Advanced Videogame. 


Atari is hoping that success for its 
7800 Pro System will be just a 
matter of simple arithmetic. Flouting 
the warnings of nay-sayers who've 

already got videogames dead and 
buried, the manufacturer is betting 
that the best features of the 2600 plus 
the best features of the 5200 plus 
some entirely new features will add up 
to overwhelming consumer accept- 

ance for the 7800. 

Atari bases its faith in this system, 
which is expected to sell for $120- 
$150 at discount outlets, on extensive 
consumer research. "This is an up- 
grade market," asserts Joel Oberman, 

26 Electronic Carries 

director of the Entertainment Software 
Group at Atari Products Company. He 
explains that though sales of the 2600 
continue strong, because price reduc- 
tions have made the machine more 
available to less affluent families, 
many of those who cut their gaming 
teeth on the good old VCS are now 
ready to purchase a more sophisti- 
cated videogame unit. 
Atari's research indicates that those 

who are most likely to buy an ad- 
vanced videogame system want three 
things: lots of cartridges, outstanding 
graphics, and expandability. The Pro 
System, the Sunnyvale, Ca. company 
feels, is a machine that can satisfy all of 
these wants. 

The 7800's biggest bragging point is 
its new "Marie" graphics chip. All this 
48-pin IC with its 24,000 individual 
transistors does is totally replace 
player-missile graphics, the system for 
producing computer visuals used on all 
previous Atari hardware. 

Remember when player-missile 
graphics represented the state-of-the- 
art? Forget it. The Marie chip unchains 
designers by removing most, if not all, 
of the limitations associated with put- 
ting images on the computer gaming 

The Marie chip makes it possible for 
7800 cartridges, unlike programs for 
older systems, to move any number of 
objects of any size in any combination 
of directions on the screen simul- 
taneously. To put this new advance in 
proper electronic gaming perspective, 

Atari plans to release a keyboard to 
give gamers a taste of computer life. 

the 7800 edition of Robotron has an 
upper-level playfield with more than 
70 crazed robots zipping all over the 
screen at the same time. Another in- 
dication of the 7800's graphics power: 
The mounted hero in the 7800 version 
of Joust is a figure composed of 10 
different colors. 

Not only does the 7800 have visuals 
which outshine any other videogame, 
but its graphics are also superior to all 
computers currently on the market 
selling for under $1,000. Gamers told 
Atari researchers that the graphics of 

The Atari 7800 console (above, left) and its new controller (below). 

The Atari 7800 ProSystem 
Precision Pro-Line Controllers 

All 7800 

Electronic Camel 27 



the 7800 are up to 50% better than 
those for other systems. Whatever the 
actual margin, there's little question 
that the Pro System sets a new stan- 
dard of excellence. 

The 7800 is primarily a game- 
playing machine, but adding the sep- 
arately available full-stroke keyboard 
can give gamers a taste of what com- 
puters are like and how they work. All 
serial peripherals for the Atari home 
computers — including the program 
recorder, disk drive, modem, printer 
and light pen — also mate perfectly 
with the 7800. They connect to the 
console through the keyboard, which 
Atari plans to retail at under $100. It is 
also anticipated that the Pro System 
will be connectable to a laser disc ma- 
chine. A fully expanded 7800 isn't the 
equivalent of the Atari 800XL or the 
like, but it can be a tool for improving 

computer literacy. 

The 7800 console clearly bears the 
marks of its Atari lineage, resembling 
nothing so much as a smaller and more 
streamlined 5200. A line of four but- 
tons, located on the top panel toward 
the front of the machine, governs 
"pause", "select", "reset" and "pow- 
er". Two nine-pin ports accept a pair 
of the new Pro Line controllers, 
though any command control device 
that works with a 2600 or 800XL will 
also function with the 7800. 

Atari is particularly proud of the Pro 
Line controllers. According to Joel 
Oberman, "We were surprised when 
they tested better than anything, even 
the standard Atari joystick." The com- 
pany is determined not to draw flak 
from gamers about the controllers for 
its new system the way it got criticism 
on the 5200 stick. The two-button unit 
gives excellent response and, like the 
original Atari joystick, is a versatile, all- 
around model that should play most 
games pretty well. The Pro Line joy- 
sticks will be available for separate 
purchase, but the price has not been 
set yet. 

Compatibility with the 2600 assures 
the 7800 of a huge software library 
right from the start. All 2600 cartridges 
play on the Pro System without the 
need of a special adapter. A module 

which Atari intends to offer to owners 
of the 5200 allows that machine to run 
carts designed for either the 2600 or 

Compatibility with the 2600 is good 
news, especially for gamers who 
already own dozens of still-playable 
VCS titles, but the 7800 will ultimately 
live or die based on the quality of the 
software specially created for the new 
system. Fortunately, Atari is aware of 
this, too, and is putting lots of muscle 
behind a two-pronged software de- 
velopment effort aimed at producing 
both home translations of popular 
coin-op games and all-new programs 
designed expressly for play in the 

At this writing, approximately a 
dozen games are ready for shipment 
concurrently with the introduction of 
the 7800 itself. Most of the games are 
translations, because the development 
process is always faster when the de- 
signer is working from an existing con- 
test, but there should be at least sever- 
al new creations on tap by the time the 
system rolls into national distribution. 
The typical 7800 cartridge is 32 K ROM 
and carries a retail roughly comparable 
to present 5200 or 2600 carts. 

Another accessory available for the 
7800 is the high score cartridge. When 
this is plugged into the console's slot 
and another cart is inserted on top, the 
player can save the scores of up to 300 
rounds of gaming, 

THE 7800 

Since, as this magazine's motto 
says, "The play's the thing," let's get 
down to the main event — the car- 



28 Electronic Gimet 


D L "sr ^PEEo'i I 

Bi^^ 1 

■** i 


tridges themselves. Here's a brief, 
title-by-title rundown: 

Ms. Pac-Man. Programmed by the 
same designer who coded the Bally 
coin-op, the home version for the 
7800 has all the intermissions, mazes 
and bonus prizes that make the lady 
gobbler queen of the amusement 
centers. There's even a full-scale 
attract mode. Perhaps more impor- 
tant, controller response is superb, 
making this an exemplary cart. 

Dig Dug. Atari — and its AtariSoft 
division — has already done several 
fine translations of Dig Dug, but the 
graphics capabilities of the Pro System 
make this the best of the best. The 
striated colors used to create the play- 
field are straight from the arcades. 

Asteroids. Atari has taken the pop- 
ular play-mechanic of the classic 
Asteroids and enhanced it with a 
wholly new set of visuals. Gone are the 
vector graphics, replaced by highly de- 
tailed and colorful images. Atari was 
somewhat circumscribed in what it 
could do when translating games 
licensed from other companies, but it 
pulled out all the stops for this spec- 
tacular Asteroids. 

Centipede. As with many of the 

7800 cartridges, this one can be play- 
ed by two players as well as solitaire, 
with a pair of gamers either cooperat- 
ing or competing to sweep the garden 
clear of insects, spiders and such. Cer- 
tain to keep nerves from fraying is the 
fact that, in the team mode, one player 
can't accidently blast his or her 

Robotron. Like its 5200 counter- 
part, this cartridge will come with a 
holder to clamp the joysticks into place 
so that a control system just like the 
play-for-pay machine can be used. As 
mentioned, the Marie chip makes 
possible a tremendous amount of on- 
screen movement, giving this car- 
tridge the high excitement level gam- 
ers will fondly recall from the Williams 
Electronics machine. 

Xevious. This is the first home edi- 
tion of Atari's 1983 science fiction 
coin-op. The gamer directs a ship over 
a multi-screen terrain map and, using 
the appropriate fire button, can strafe 
or bomb a variety of targets. The home 
edition is said to feature a playfield as 
extensive as the arcade title. 

Pole Position II. Here, Atari does a 
great game one better. Four new 
courses, great crash sounds and 
charming scenery make this one first- 
class, from starter's gun to checkered 
flag. It is the game which comes pack- 
aged with the 7800. Eventually, Atari 
plans to make the game resident in the 
machine, something about which few 
gamers are likely to complain. 

Joust. The previous Atari transla- 
tions of this Williams coin-op have 
duplicated the play-action and made 
at least a decent stab at simulating the 
original visuals. This edition comes 


about as close to coin-op quality as 
anything you're going to see pre- 
sented on a conventional TV set. 

Galaga. This is the first home edition 
of a classic Midway coin -op that has 
been taking in quarters and tokens for 
years. The 7800 cartridge has all the 
screens — and all the bonus play fea- 
tures — of the play-for-pay device, 
including the Galaxian-like phase. 

Sphinx. The title of this diagonally 
scrolling action-adventure wasn't 
definite at presstime, but it should be 
well worth gamers' attention, whatev- 
er name appears on the opening cred- 
its. The arcader controls a bird which 
can fly, walk and swim, depending on 
the terrain, while firing deadly bolts at 
evil birds, scarabs, and the Sphinx. 
There are clues to find, treasures to 
loot and much more in this Egyptian 

Ball Blazer and Rescue on Fractal us. 
(See full descriptions of these games in 
this issue's cover feature.) Both of the 
Lucasfilm games will appear as 7800 
cartridges. They're essentially the 
same as the computer and 5200 edi- 
tions, but with better graphics. 

For reviews of these and other 7800 
games, stay tuned to EG . O 


flectronlc G«ro« 29 

Sports Games Hit Ail-Time High 








Commercials for the fall TV shows 
will shortly make their debuts on 
home sets while arcades from coast to 
coast are set to premiere the latest 
wave of electronic amusements. And 
just as the networks sit with crossed 
fingers, hoping desperately that the 
next "Dallas" lurks somewhere on the 
line-up, the coin-op manufacturers 
pray that this year's Pac-Man, Space 
Invaders or Dragon's Lair resides on 
their release schedule. 

Coin -ops have traditionally repre- 
sented the leading edge of the 
electronic gaming universe in terms of 
both technology and artistic achieve- 
ment. Home games have generally 
been measured against the arcade 
yardstick, attaining status and success 
in direct correlation to their ability to 
ape some coin-op cousin. That era, 
however, is in the process of ending 

With the rise of high-memory pro- 
grammable systems and the prolifera- 
tion of microcomputers on the scene, 
the home product has ceased living in 
the shadows. Technology has liber- 
ated software companies such as 
DataSoft, Synapse, and Electronic 
Arts, which are taking home games in 
new directions, down paths where, 
in many cases, coin-ops just can't fol- 
low. No longer are home arcaders con- 
tent with yet another Pac-Man 
or Space Invader clone — not when 
games like Archon and Epyx' Silicon 
Warrior blend the best characteristics 
of strategic and arcade-style contests. 

How far have home games come in 
relation to coin-ops? This question is 
best answered by the fact that arcade 



ws & esc sa 

5*Ss |e. |& & & 3S- ^ 


game manufacturers have performed 
a complete about-face within the past 
year and have actually begun licensing 
computer software hits for coin-op 
translation! Exidy, for example, has 
just announced a historic deal with 
First Star Software in which it snagged 
the arcade rights to several computer 
hits, including the best selling Astro 
Chase and Boulder Dash. 

What's going on here? Remember 
that arcade games are bound by far 
tighter format restrictions than home 
games, which can explore any direc- 
tion. Coin-ops can't be too com- 
plicated lest players become confused 
and discouraged after a few plays. 
Coin-ops should, ideally, be based on 
a simple premise, involve a high de- 
gree of hand-eye skill, and must be 
playable in a highly elastic time- 
structure. Last year's surprise hit from 
Taito, Championship Baseball, was 
one of the first non-racing sports 
games to turn on the arcade world in 
years. Sports games had been over- 
looked in the past because their mini- 
mum play-time was considered too 
long for a coin-op. As we shall see, this 
is one of many things which have 
changed dramatically in 1984. 

Arcades thrive for a very simple rea- 
son: They offer something that gam- 
ers can't get anywhere else. Even with 
the vastly improved memory capacity 
of home entertainment/computer sys- 
tems, a coin-op game should, theore- 
tically, still hold the advantage. An 
arcade game is, after all, built to play 
just one game, whereas home systems 
must be constructed to play an infinite 
number of them. Coin-ops can use 
clear plastic overlays, special control 
mechanisms — such as the Crossbow 
on the Exidy coin-op of the same name 
— and experimental new technolog- 

The most recent wrinkles on the 
arcade scene of course, are laserdisc 
games. After the success of the 
Cinematronics/Bluth Studios hit, Dra- 
gon's Lair, many industry insiders pre- 
dicted that the entire coin-op world 
would go laserdisc. Two factors — the 

IM ,'M I 


inherent limitations of videodisc and 
the incredible improvement in di- 
gitized computer generated graphics 
— have served to consign these games 
to a relatively small corner of the 
arcade universe, right next to the 
vector-graphics contests such as Star 
Wars and Cosmic Chasm. 

Several new coin-ops utilizing laser- 
disc technology will appear this fall, of 
course. Cinematronics is finally getting 
its long-delayed follow- up to Dragon's 
Lair mto the arcades, but whether or 


not Space Ace makes as big a splash as 
its predecesser is still up in the air. 
Space Ace moves much more smooth- 
ly than DL, but nonetheless employs 
the same play scheme — directional 
joystick for movement and button to 
inaugurate a predetermined (by the 
machine) action. 

Funai has Interstellar II, a sequel to 
the dark horse hit of last year. As in the 
original, players move an on-screen 
space vessel through a surreal land- 
scape as seen from a head-on perspec- 
tive. Both the original and this follow- 
up employ bizarre, fluid graphics of a 
type most commonly associated with 
computer-created images. 

The most interesting of the new 
laserdisc games is Atari's Firefox, a title 
based on the Clint Eastwood film. 



•I, A '^L .' 




Playing substantially in the same situa- 
tion as Mylstar's M.A.C.H. 3, Firefox 
makes the gamer the pilot of a 
supersonic fighter flying over a 
topography of actual, filmed images. 
Firefox doesn't represent a quantum 
leap over existing laserdisc games, but 
it does incorporate a number of in- 
triguing new touches, most important 
being the ability of the player-pilot to 
turn barrel rolls, spinning completely 
around as the jet passes over its land 
and sea targets. 

The major trend this fall, however, is 
not laserdisc games, but rather a genre 
that has been generally overlooked 
and disdained by the coin-op biz — 


sports contests. Leading the pack are 
Konami's hot Track & Field (the home 
rights to which have reportedly been 
picked up by Atari) and Bally's NFL 
Football. The latter offers considerably 
more strategy than anything coin- 
oppers have heretofore seen. Using a 
highly sophisticated series of pre- 
programmed players, gamer pilot 
either the San Diego Chargers or the 
champion L.A. Raiders. After each play 
is called, the machine runs the play 
visually so we can see what happens 



for ourselves. Should this game fly, 
Bally is reportedly already tuning up an 
"upgrade" that will pit traditional riv- 
als, the N.Y. Jets against the Miami 

Other football contests include 
Stern's Goal to Go, which utilizes 
videodisc footage of actual pigskin ac- 
tion, and Taito's 10 Yard Fight which 
condenses the action down to the 
almighty struggle for a first down. 

Fans of Olympic action, meanwhile, 
will enjoy another Stern laserdisc con- 
test, Gold Medal (with Bruce Jenner). 

Then there's Nintendo's Punch Out, 
for arcade pugilists everywhere. A 
two-screen contest, Punch Out offers 
a unique, heads-on perspective with 
the player-surrogate's gloved hands 
visible in the immediate foreground 

electronic Games 31 



and the opponent directly facing the 
monitor. Coin-op Rockys must go up 
against five challengers succussfully in 
order to get a shot at the title, held by 
the notorious Mr. Sandman. 

Fans of hand-to-hand action should 
also get a "kick" out of Data East's Tag 
Team Wrestling, an amusing and 
realistic contest in which arcaders 
guide the fate of two babyfaced 
heroes as they go up against the Mad 
Maulers, as unwholesome a team as 
was ever managed by Fred Blassie or 
Captain Lou Albano! How nasty are 
the Maulers? After tossing one of your 
grapplersoutof the ring on his ear, the 
vile no-goodnik will frequently follow 
him out onto the floor in order to bash 
his head into the ringpost! How realis- 
tic is this contest? Everything from 
dropkicks to Pile Drivers are included 
among the wrestling repetoire and, 
when the action spills out of the ring, 



watch out for an interfering fan who 
jumps out of his seat to join in ! 

Although this is the first autumn in 
memory not to feature a new Pac- 
Man or Donkey Kong entry, there are 
a brace of interesting sequels on the 
scene. Cutesy Mr. Do!, Universal's 
moneymaking harlequin, is back for a 
third go-round in Wildride, an ador- 
able roller coaster amusement. Mean- 
while, TX-1 from Atari, is perhaps the 
ultimate version of Pole Position, 
spreading the auto action over no less 
than three monitors! 

Conversion kits — new game pro- 
grams designed to fit into the pre- 
existing cabinets — are still big busi- 
ness. Atari is offering operators Cloak 
and Dagger, a spy-vs.-spy videogame, 
and SNK Electronics has Marvin's 
Maze, a gorgeous new full- 
dimensional, dual-level maze contest. 

Sente Technologies, Nolan Bush- 
nell's ballyhooed comeback to the 
arcade industry, has released a pair of 
interchangeable conversion coin-ops, 
Snack Attack and Snake Pit. The form- 
er is a graphically intriguing but other- 
wise dismal trackball-controlled 
entertainment in which a rubber- 
necked protagonist's head must be 
maneuvered in order for his mouth to 
catch the constant rain of foodstuffs 
filling the playfield. Snake Pit is a 
slightly more interesting multi- 
scenario contest in which a whip- 
wielding protagonist must lash out at a 
nest of serpents in a reptile-invested 

Taito has two new titles star- 
ring Zeke, their hero from Zoo 
Keeper. Tin Star is a western-style 
videogame with Zeke cast as a Sheriff 
engaged in a wild shoot-out on the 
streets of an owlhoot-infested old 
West town. Zeke's Peak, meanwhile, 
is a non-video contest in which gamers 
must move a tilting ledge up the front 
of a slot-filled playboard, dropping 
metal balls into the appropriate holes. 

Centuri/Konami has a new cute 
game in the mold of Track & Field. 
Dubbed Circus Charlie, it stars a tiny 
clown jumping through rings of fire, 
walking a tightrope, balancing on 
balls, practicing bareback riding 
stunts, bouncing on a trampoline and 
swinging on a trapeze! 

The most talked-about new coin-op 
on this fall's schedule, however, is un- 
doubtedly Midway's Tapper. Casting 

32 Electronic Games 


players as bartenders, who must first 
pay their dues at a wild western saloon 
before moving on to the main playf ield 
in which they must keep those mugs 
filled with suds while catching the 
empty glasses as they slide across the 
bar and picking up tips left by grateful 
customers. Skilled barkeeps will even 
find themselves tending bar in a Star 
Wars-style cantina, full of the most 
unlikely patrons ever to down a Bud. 
(Bally made a licensing deal with Bud- 
weiser, by the way, and the Bud logo is 
featured prominently here). Especially 
endearing touches include joysticks 
designed like beer taps and a brass 
foot rail at the machine's base! 

A bit of a brew-haha went up at a 
recent coin-op 
expo over (,,'' ({/( 
this game's ^^f^frg 


alcoholic content, but Bally scotched 
the controversy by announcing that 
Tapper is destined exclusively for 
taverns. An arcade version, Root Beer 
Tapper is being readied, meanwhile, 
for arcades. 

Of course, arcades have thrived — 
when they haven't floundered, that is 
— on offering arcaders something that 
they couldn't get at home. The grow- 
ing slickness and inventiveness being 
displayed on the home front has, to a 
certain extent, backed the coin-op in- 
dustry up against the wall. The arcade 


folks have, therefore, begun to repond 
by producing entertainments that ex- 
ceed anything previously seen. 

Krim & Zort are not the Venusian 
version of Simon & Garfunkel, but 
rather they're a pair of robotic warriors 
who do battle on a three foot by three 
foot tabletop. Produced by ZAP (Zany 


Animated Productions), both the little 
guys can move their heads, mouths, 
tails and wings. Their little peepers 
light up and they fire laser beams at 
one another in a contest that can be 
played either head to head or soli- 
taire against the computer. 

In Dallas, Texas, meanwhile, what 
its creators have entitled "a living 
video game" is set to make its debut. 
Photon is a humongous amusement 
construct in which gamers, clad in hel- 
met and toting a phaser weapon, 
move freely about the high-tech 
topography in a simulated science fic- 
tion shootout. 

How successful will these new 
novelty contests be? It's difficult to 
tell. Still, one thing is certain — you 
won't be able to play these game on a 
C-64. . . 

. . .at least, not YET. 6 

Electronic Games 33 


Software Showcase 




Articles of War 


Passport to Adventure 


Think Tank 


Electronic Pressbox 


Playing It Smart 









Designed by Ron J. Fortier & Kelly Day 
DataSoft/ Atari computers/ 32K disk 

This mission -completion game off- 
ers a fresh and intriguing blend of play 
elements. The joystick-controlled 
Bruce Lee must jump and climb to 
negotiate the tri-level, three-screen 
playfields, collect prizes (hanging lan- 
terns) and battle against a black-clad 
ninja wielding a bokken- stick and the 
deadly Green Yamo. 

Bruce Lee is playable solitaire or by 
two computerists, who can either 
compete directly head-to-head or take 
turns against a machine opponent. As 
the now-legendary star of martial arts 
movies, Bruce Lee, gamers can reap 
untold riches and learn the secret of 
immortality — booty worthy of any 
cinematic hero! — by penetrating to 
the heart of a many-roomed fortress 
to confront its mystery master, the 

Combining joystick movements 
with use of the action button, the con- 
trol system makes it possible for Bruce 
Lee to run, jump, kick, punch, climb 
and duck. The on-screen battler can 
survive a total of five combat losses to 
the Ninja and Green Yamo. Bruce Lee 
can take an extra fall once the gamer 
accumulates 40,000 points, and he 
gains another at each 30,000-point 
milestone thereafter. There's even an 
easy method for re-orienting the joys- 
tick to make command input simpler 
for lefthanders. 

Although Kelly Day's graphics are 
good, even excellent in spots, there's a 
pretty obvious trade-off of visual bril- 
liance for dazzling play-action. Bruce 

34 Electronic Games 

Lee is a good-looking game, with nice 
animation of the principal characters, 
but the real attraction is the varied 
playfield environments which designer 
Ron Fortier has created. By collecting 
the right combination of lanterns, 
Bruce opens gates which allow him to 
advance from room to room on the 
way to the final showdown with the 
wizard. Every phase is completely dif- 
ferent, which keeps the program 
stimulating through untold replays. 

The instruction manual is curiously 
haphazard for such an otherwise well- 
thought-out game. The information 
isn't well-organized, and providing 

more data about the game situation 
would make it a lot easier for home 
arcaders to get into the swing of 

Bruce Lee won't be mastereG over- 
night, because playing well requires 
learning how to combine a wide 
assortment of moves and strategies. 
But learning when to leap for safety 
and when the duke it out with Yamo 
and his shadowy pal gives the disk an 
aura of excitement that's tough to 
beat. This is a truly unique program 
that takes gamers on a wild — and 
dangerous — trip into nonstop 
heroics. So put on your black belts and 
let's go! 

(Arnie Katz) 


First Star Software/ Atari/ 32 K Disk 

The cutest new character on the 
computer gaming block is Rockford, 
the doe-eyed star of Boulder Dash. 


This crusty little cave creature not only 
blinks his eyes randomly in a very life- 
like manner, but he even prompts 
gamers who are too slow on the stick 
by tapping his foot impatiently when 
left alone too long. His reminders 
aren't in vain, though, because each 
turn is a race against the clock to col- 
lect all the jewels on each screen, then 
find the exit door and go on to the 
next level. 

Little Rockford's job is to dig 
through 16 different playfields of soft, 
boulder-strewn earth filled with the 
glittering diamonds. Any time he dis- 
lodges a boulder (by either moving or 
digging directly beneath it), the rock 
falls until it reaches solid ground. 
Rockford can outrun any falling boul- 
der — as long as he doesn't hesitate. If 
he's caught by a rock, or even by a 
jewel dislodged from its place, he loses 
a turn. It's also possible to be trapped 
on all sides by unmovable rocks (when 
this happens, press the "escape" key 
to reset the screen). 

Most screens require advance plan- 
ning to keep from blocking off the 
escape door with piled-up boulders, 
and even at the easiest of five difficulty 
levels, it's no small feat. Loosing the 
bottommost rock in a group creates 
an appropriate landslide of falling de- 
bris, animated realistically and with 
good sound effects. 

Boulder Dash's only weak point lies 
in its instruction book. Completely de- 
void of illustration, it doesn't help 
gamers figure out that the flashing 
squares are dangerous fireflies, for ex- 
ample, or which walls can be broken 
through with boulders. (The rule book 
also doesn't explain how to break 


The going gets rocky in Boulder Dash. 

walls.) Still, devoted dashers will even- 
tually surmount this problem through 
the ol' "thrill of discovery" method. 

The program itself has plenty of 
user-friendly goodies that keep play- 
ers from getting bored too quickly. Be- 
fore starting the game, a player can 
use the joystick to select which of four 
caves Rockford will enter, though 
once inside he must progress through 
all that cave's screens. Five difficulty 
levels, plus two playable intermission 
screens, add spice to an already-good 

Veteran computerists will appreci- 
ate Boulder Dash's ultra-playable 
blend of fast action and brain-teasing 
strategy. This is one game that can't 
be mastered in a mere few play ses- 
sions. If you want a good run for your 
money, Boulder Dash could be just 
the thing! 

(Trade Forman) 


Synapse/ Atari /32K disk 

Here's an unusual color-changing 

game, Rainbow Walker, a pretty ac- 
tion contest set high above a mythical 
kingdom. Evil forces have turned the 
rainbow gray, and only the brave Ced- 
ric can restore it to its former brilliance. 
Equipped with rainbow-walking 
boots, he hops along the airborne 
pathway, which scrolls forward and 
back across the horizon. If Cedric 
moves even one toe off the rainbow, 
he falls off and loses a turn. 

Of course, there are plenty of nas- 
ties out to stop his heroic exploits, and 
each has a unique way of foiling his 
progress. For example, there's a 
hovering bird that plucks him off the 
rainbow and carries him off to parts 
unknown, undoing all the work he's 
done so far. Another creature picks 
him up and drops him on another 
square. Still another bad guy simply 
chucks him over the side. 

Cedric can temporarily freeze oppo- 

It's Rockford versus rocks in First Star's Boulder Dash 


nents in their tracks by hopping on to a 
patterned square (which always re- 
mains gray). As long as he doesn't 
move vertically, the enemies remain 
frozen. But he can't linger too long on 
the patterned area, because it quickly 
disintegrates under his weight. 

The game awards a bonus round 
each time a rainbow is completed. To 
earn bonus points, Cedric has to hop 
back and forth between constantly 
appearing — and disappearing — 
squares. If he stays in one spot too 
long, the ground literally falls out from 
under him. There are never more than 
four squares on-screen during a bonus 
round, and the longer Cedric keeps his 
footing, the higher the bonus tally. 

Rainbow Walker is especially ear- 
pleasing, though detailed graphics 
and instructions aren't the game's 
strong points. Still, the sky changes 
color as the sun goes down, and the 
moon rises over the night firmament. 
It's pleasant touch, and a pleasant 
game that has a way of growing on 
the player. 

(Tracie Forman) 

Electronic Games 35 


Commodore /Commodore 64/Cartridge 

Splat! That's the sound of that little 
red rotund rascal, Jack, landing on one 
of the equally roly-poly creatures who 
fight against him for survival through 
22 incredibly challenging playfields. 
Jack Attack is one of several recent 
releases, including Bouncing Kamun- 
gas and Squish 'em, to capitalize on 
this particular play-mechanic, but no 
other program puts the idea to such 
effective use by combining it with con- 
cepts first developed in the climbing 
and jumping contests. 

Three elements are combined in 
various ways to create each playfields 
strategic challenge. There are large 
square boxes, some horizontal plat- 
forms and a line of enemy invaders 
strung out along the top of the screen. 
Jack can leap up to three blocks in 
height using the joystick and has the 
additional power of shifting boxes. To 
do so, Jack moves next to the desired 
block, the player depresses the action 
button, and Jack can then push or pull 
the square as desired. Smashing an 
attacker between two blocks, as in 
Pengo, can be quite deadly. 

The computerist gets points for 
moving boxes, destroying attackers, 
and landing on all platforms before 
time runs out. There's also a count- 
down bonus clock for each playfield, 
and the player gets all unused time 
added to the point total. Failure to 
dispatch all the enemies before the 
clock hits zero doesn't end the round, 
as in Donkey Kong, but you won't pick 
up extra points, either. The horizontal 
platforms disappear as time runs out, 
causing an avalanche that can bury 
Jack under the rubble if the player isn't 
nimble with the joystick. 

Jack Attack has fairly simple visuals, 
but what's on the screen in superb. As 
with most C-64 programs, there's not 
much sound until the action gets roll- 
ing, but the tunes are terrific from that 
point onward. 

An option screen gives the player 
(or players, since two can compete 
taking alternating turns) a choice of 
levels at which to begin. Neophytes 
had better start with the first screen, 
because even that one may cause 
some frustration until the course of 
play becomes familiar. Don't be 
embarrassed when Jack gets crushed 
by a big fat block you've moved the 
wrong way within a few seconds of 
hitting the action button to start the 

Jack Attack is a clever and innova- 


tive design that provides really fresh 
action game fun for the Commodore 
64. It is certainly a difficult game to 
master, since it requires both manual 
dexterity and quick wits. 

(Arnie Katz) 



As a relative newcomer to the home 
computer field, it is only fitting that 
SpectraVideo has stuck to basics, and 
one of the first games offered for 
Spectravideo's SV-318 is a version of 
the classic invasion from space theme. 

Since so many of this genre have 
gone before, it is difficult to add the 
new twists necessary to keep any such 
game from being nothing more than a 
"me too" clone. 

Luckily, Spectron's blend of play 
mechanics works well enough 
together to produce a solid, enjoyable 

Phalanxes of aerial aliens march 
across a highly detailed and extremely 
colorful planet background as in Space 
Invaders. Some of the hostile craft 
called Sinkers peel away from the main 
body in a manner highly reminiscent of 
Galaxian, while the bombs they dis- 
patch fall in Demon Attack fashion. 

Given four ships, planetary defend- 
ers must utilize them one at a time to 
destroy the advancing craft as well as a 
Mother Transport which crosses high 
overhead periodically. Hitting this is 
worth a relatively hefty bonus because 
it carries 1 8 of the smaller attack craft. 

A segmented shield protects the 
defensive position until the enemy 
firepower obliterates it. Since this hap- 
pens rather quickly, the shield is of 
little consequence. As in Gorf, the 
force field also restricts arcaders' fire. 

If enemy vessles enter the base, they 
plant time bombs. When 9 have been 
planted (there is no way of removing 
them), the game is over just as surely 
as when all the spectron fighters are 

The variegated shields and busy 
background sometimes make it diff- 
icult to spot incoming rounds. Anoth- 
er somewhat negative aspect is the 
low scoring potential. For example, 
the second highest award is presented 
for scoring over 3500 points, while the 
highest is for earning 20,000 or more. 
Good luck, 'cause you'll have to be a 
real fanatic to do it 

Summing up the two-player option, 
multiple skill levels, well thought-out 


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36 Electronic Games 

blend of play mechanics, sensational 
visuals, and adequate musical score, 
this tape provides the solid action and 
challenge needed for extended 

(Ted Salamone) 


Strategic Simulations/ Apple II/48K disk 

When SSI broke out of its war/ 
sports strategy series with its Rapid 
Fire game line, many assumed that it 
would mean yet more mindless, act- 
ion - reaction games on the market. 
As games like Cytron Masters, 
Galactic Gladiators and The Warp 
Factor proved, the new line was still 
designed for thinking gamers who 
wanted just a bit more action. 

Yet none of those games relied as 


First of all, one of the right side flip- 
pers occasionally has its tip separate 
from the main section of flipper. As the 
tip sits on the screen while the ball is 
still in play, it is both distracting and 
disturbing to wonder what part of the 
machine will next come apart. 

Another problem comes from the 
elasticity of the bottom flippers. Just 
letting the flippers sit without flipping 
at all will send a tumbling ball more 
than halfway back up the table. 

Finally, in the upper left corner of 
the screen, the upper table, has two 
small flippers to protect the ball from 

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heavily on capturing arcade charm as 
SSI's entry into the already-crowded 
world of pinball simulations. This time 
it's the Queen of Hearts, which has all 
of the features you'd expect from a 
conventional table: sequential scor- 
ing, five flippers spread over two 
levels, tilts, and an attractive screen 
display that keeps track of up to four 
players competing at once. 

The top 20 scores are saved to disk 
and remain intact for the next play 
session. John Lyon, who created this 
game as well as The Shattered 
Alliance and S.E.U.I.S., has encoun- 
tered some problems with this effort. 

dropping back down to the lower por- 
tion of the table. When the ball does 
drop through there, it is at least a 50/ 
50 chance it will continue in funnel- 
like fashion to a left-side drain and be 
lost forever. There aren't enough 
bonus points in that area of the table 
to make it worth the risk. 

There are only three balls per turn, 
but once some rhythm has been 
established, the gamer can keep each 
alive for a long period of time. 

For all its shortcomings, Queen of 
Hearts is an enjoyable game and right- 
fully deserves its place in the genre. 
(Rick Teverbaugh) 


Designed by Stephen C Biggs 
Synapse Software/ Commodore 64/Disk 

This one- or two-player contest is a 
pretty big step away from con- 
ventional video pinball. With its play- 
field composed of four vertically adja- 
cent screens and the high degree of 
ball control, Slamball emerges as a 
cross between a flipper game and a 
strategy program. 

The player gets three or five balls 
with which all the solid targets scat- 
tered around the playfield must be hit 
at least once (to turn them into hollow 
targets). Although the same banks of 
targets can be cleared again and again 
for points, the only way to ascend to 
the next highest level is to wipe the 
board clean of the solid targets. An 
information line monitors the number 
of targets remaining. 

Moving the joystick left, right or 
down without depressing the action 
button activates, respectively, the left- 
side, right-side orall the flippers. Push- 
ing the stick to the left or right while 
holding down the button causes a 
horizontal jostle which can greatly 
speed up the flight of the ball. 

The graphics are fairly simple, but 
Biggs has done something exceedingly 
clever by personifying the traditional 
silver ball as Mr. Slamball. He looks a 
little like a smile button, but this 
doesn't stop him from rico- 
cheting around the playfield to rack up 
points by colliding with bumpers and 
thumpers as well as the previously 
mentioned drop targets. Hitting a 
whole bank of targets releases float- 
ing bumpers. Hitting one such object 
cycles the bonus multiplier from one to 
four and back again in increments of 
one. That means, when you've got the 
game sailing along a 4X, the last thing 
you want to do is take out one of those 
floating bumpers, which resets things 
to 1X. 

Slamball is more than just pinball, 
it's videogaming action at its most in- 

(Arnie Katz) 


Sirius/ Apple II/48K disk 

It won't make the neighbors forget 
about the heroic message from Paul 
Revere, but maybe they also won't call 
for the men in the white suits should 
they see you running down the street 
yelling, "The buzzards are coming! 
The buzzards are coming!" 

If any of your friends do decide that 
you really have gone that one step 

Electronic Games 37 

over the edge, blame Mike Ryeburn 
and his highly entertaining offering, 
Buzzard Bait. 

In this scenario, some very affec- 
tionate buzzards have gotten together 
in nests high above the ground. Baby 
buzzards were the end result. Now 
these little birds are hungry. What 
they crave is people. Any humans un- 
fortunate enough to be walking 
around in that vicinity will be plucked 
up and fed to these youngsters like a 
sack of hamburgers from the local 

To quote the box copy of this prog- 
ram, ."Last year those birds had a feast 
and we had to change the population 

Using keyboard, paddle, Apple 
joystick or Atari joystick, the gamer 
must keep the babies hungry, and the 
people as healthy as possible. 

Equipped with a hovercraft and an 
endless supply of ammunition, the 
gamer shoots the parent buzzards out 
of the sky before they can pounce on 
any of the people Should one of the 


birds snatch a human, it can still be 
shot down before dropping off the 
food, but the human must then be 
caught as he drops back to earth. 
Shooting an orange bird is worth 100 

points, while a blue bird scores 50 and 
a baby bird, 300. Catching a falling hu- 
man is worth 100 points. 

Bonus ships are earned by success- 
fully completing the collecting of three 
parts of that ship during the bonus 
ship round. When using the joystick 
controls, button #0 will cause the ship 
to fire, while button #1 will cause the 
ship to lift off into a hover position for 
as long as the button is depressed. 
Side-to-side movement of the joystick 
controls the horizontal movement of 
the craft. 

Buzzard Bait is a challenging diver- 
sion, even if the mechanics of the 
game system are off-the-shelf inva- 
sion games. Graphics are clean and 

When someone hollers to look up in 
the sky, if the first guess is it's a bird 
and the second guess is a buzzard in- 
stead of a plane, don't wait for Super- 
man. Instead, hop into the nearest 
hovercraft and try to keep your loved 
ones from becoming Buzzard Bait. 

(Rick Teverbaugh) 



Atari/Atari computers /Cartridge 

This edition of Williams' Robotron: 
2084 is a virtually flawless arcade-to- 
home translation. The graphics are 
crisp and remarkably faithful to the 
original, the sound is multilayered and 
aptly machine-like, and the play- 
action's fast, furious, and just plain 

Robotron traditionalists can enjoy 
the arcade versions's unique two- 
joystick command system by simply 
plugging in two controllers. (Heavy, 
lap-style sticks side-by-side are ideal 
for this option.) Less experienced play- 
ers can use one joystick to control both 
movement and firing. 

The final episode in Williams' De- 
fender trilogy lands players on a barren 
planet. Defenseless humans run 
around a clear playfield, pursued by 
different types of homicidal robots. 
Blast the droids — except the invulner- 
able Grunts — and save the people to 
tally progressively higher bonus 
points. At higher levels, the evil Brains 
even turn the humans into dangerous 
mutants, so players have to be fast to 
the rescue. 

Robotron: 2084 is one of the finest 
pure action games available for the 

Atari computer. Fans of the coin-op 
will be delighted with its arcade- 
faithful accuracy and adjustable diff- 
iculty levels, while home gamers who 
found the arcade machine too intimid- 
ating can now practice in the privacy 
of their own homes. 

(Trade Forman) 


Sirius/A tari /cartridge 

The gamer's initial reaction to Alpha 
Shield will probably be, "Wow! A vec- 
tor game." But after a few minutes of 
play that elation fizzles out slowly but 
surely. This is because Alpha Shield is a 
game of disappointments. 

This one-screen, multi-level shoot- 
out centers on an enemy base with a 
pulsating energy field. The gamer 
must destroy the base within the field 


38 Electronic Games 

before being destroyed by one of the 
five Alpherion defenders. Because the 
force field absorbs energy, the player 
must either shoot at the base through 
one of the openings in the shield, or go 
through it and shoot from within. If 
successful, the gamer goes on to 
another base. 

In the upper levels, the bases form 
more than one shield. Also, each of the 
defenders has its own peculiarities. 
But, the game doesn't offer enough 


variety to be much of a challenge. It 
seems as though the designer did the 
bare minimum. Take, for instance, the 
line drawings; they may look like vec- 
tor graphics at first glance, but they 
aren't. Even if it were possible, why 
would anyone want to use vectors for 
one of the industry's most graphics- 
oriented computers? 

Alpha Shield may keep a real novice 
computerist occupied for a while, but 
almost no one else 

(Vincent Puglia) 


Interactive Software/ 
Atari /48K disk or cassette 

Think you know everything there is 
to know about the Fab Four? Beat the 
Beatles is an all-text trivia game that 

canpuTER GflminB 

tests Beatlemaniacs' knowledge of 
names, places, music and lyrics assoc- 
iated with the famous Liverpool four- 
some, and it's not a game for dabblers. 

The game is extremely straightfor- 
ward. After selecting a category, the 
player types in answers to the comput- 
er's questions. Points are awarded for 
each correct question, while request- 
ing a clue loses points. The game ends 
when the player answers 100 ques- 
tions correctly and has a score of at 
least 10,000, or when 33 questions 
have been answered wrong. 

Beat the Beatles is an exercise in 
no-frills gaming. There are no audio- 
visual rewards for correct answers, and 
players aren't told the answers to any 
questions. Ever. In addition, the clues 
can be extremely vague, especially in 
the music & lyrics section of the game, 
where the entire clue might consist of 
one word. 

Rabid Beatles fans will probably be 
thrilled to have a forum for showing 
off all those little-known facts about 
their favorite group, but the main- 
stream gamer could very well find Beat 
the Beatles too difficult to ever beat. 
(Trade Forman) 


Epyx/ Commodore 64/Cartridge 

This driving contest has a few new 
curves — hairpin and switchback, to 
name two. 

Actually, the main difference be- 
tween this gas-guzzler and other races 
is the need for cars to pull into the pits 
to refuel and replace worn tires. Coll- 


isions with other cars, usually two on- 
screen per time, and track edges, as 
well as miles run, reduce the amount 
of tread. Color-coded slicks indicate 

Armchair Andrettis have to in- 
dividually control the pit crew in a race 
against time as the other cars whizz 
relentlessly by in the background. 

For up to four players, this six-track, 
three-difficulty-level contest is an 
enduring challenge. The engine rev 
sounds are realistic, the pit screen un- 
forgettable, and the action absolutely 

(Ted Salamone) 


Sierra On-Line/rBM PCjr /Cartridge 

Crossfire is an interesting variant on 
the arcade classic, Targ. Players move 
a shooter through a grid comprised of 
rows of square blocks, battling an 
army of creatures who dwell on the 
perimeter of the grid. These creatures 
do not die when shot, however, but 
rather go through a three-phase meta- 
morphosis after each "kill", only dis- 
appearing after the third hit. 

The number of shots the arcader is 
granted is finite, and new ammunition 
appears in an assortment of locations. 
These stockpiles must be reached by 
the shooter in order for it to be re- 

This IBM PCjr version of the peren- 
nial favorite is a virtual clone of the 
earlier Atari edition. A worthwhile 
addition to the burgeoning PCjr li- 

(Bill Kunkel) 


Programmed by Bryce C. Nesbitt 
HesWare/Commodore 64/Cartridge 

Coming along at the end of the 
great maze-chase craze, Data East's 
Rootin' Tootin' never amassed more 
than a cult following in the arcades. 
This one-or two-player home edition 
gives computerists the chance to catch 
up with a program that qualifies as a 
genuine overlooked classic. 

Picking up notes for points on a 
maze composed of musical staffs is the 
main play-action in Rootin' Tootin' 
Creatures based on musical in- 
struments roam the playf ields — there 
are fou r mazes — and try to use up one 
of your tuba's four lives by touching it. 
Pushing the action button gives the 
tuba a few seconds' worth of invisibil- 
ity, indicated by the tuba turning blue, 
but it's not wise to count too heavily 
on this tactic. The tuba has a much 

Electronic Games 39 

deadlier weapon in its own sonic blast. 
If any of the notes which are blown off 
the staff (for 20 points each) strikes a 
hostile instrument, it is immediately 
destroyed. Picking up one of the 1 /8th 
rests which pop up periodically turns 
most of the enemy instruments into 
G-clefts, which the tuba can blow 
away for extra score. An "extra life" 
symbol, activated in the same way as 
the musical rest, entitles the player to 
an additional tuba. 

Some of the instruments merely fol- 
low the path of the tuba, but others 
have deadlier means for dealing with 
the note-blaster. The Triens, for in- 
stance, drop stars which can kill a tuba 
on contact, while the Pianhas have the 
ability to move without regard to the 
confines of the staffs. 

Rootin' Tootin' hits a gaming high 

(Arnie Katz) 


Commodore/Commodore 64/Cartridge 

In Blueprint, the gamer takes the 
role of J.J., whose girlfriend is being 
chased across the top of the screen by 
an amorous ogre. If J.J. takes too much 
time, the monster eventually catches 


the damsel, and the computerist loses 
a turn. The hero is trapped in a village 
filled with houses, and he must use the 
blueprint at the bottom of the screen 
to build a weapon to foil the ogre. 

To collect the necessary machinery, 
J.J. has to enter each house. Most of 
the dwellings contain parts which 
must be placed over corresponding 
sections of the blueprint to form the 
actual weapon. A few houses — and 
all those which have been previously 
entered — contain bombs, which the 
player must drop into a bomb chute to 
get rid of. 

The ogre periodically tosses flower 
pots at the hero, and these pernicious 
pansies come to life and menace J.J. 
Touching one is lethal. Also, there's a 
monster that tries to dismantle the 
partially-completed ogre-blaster. Get 
rid of it by dropping it down the mon- 
ster chute. A more lethal creature 
patrols the village in later levels. 

Blueprint is a low-key, enjoyable 
game, set off by good graphics and 
sound. The action is moderately 

paced, with more emphasis on strat- 
egy than on a quick trigger finger. 

(Trade Forman) 


Designed by Tony and Benny Ngo 

A natural outgrowth of the invasion 
theme, Bandits resembles Galaxian at 

first glance. Phalanxes, winged insect- 
like aliens, swoop down, spraying 
death along their way to the store- 
house at the lower left of the screen. 
As the game progresses, however, 
more bandits appear: small, but dead- 
ly Menaces, which pulsate in and out 
of existence; cross-shaped Carriers 
which break up into balloon-like 
Nuisants; and centipede-like Torrents. 
Eventually, all of the bandits are on- 
screen at the same time. 

If one or more of the bandits man- 
ages to steal some of the supplies (and 
they will), the gamer can still recover 
the loot by shooting the aliens down as 
they cross the screen. When the going 
get rough, the player's ship can even 
be shielded for short intervals of time. 

If nothing else, Bandits has superla- 
tive graphics. (I had to check to make 
sure I was playing with the VIC and not 
the Atari.) Luckily though, Bandits is 
more than a good-looking game; it's 
also a fun-playing one. 

(Vincent Puglia) 



Strategic Simulations Inc./ 
Apple II, Atari/48K disk 

No Man's Land, a hundred and fifty 
feet below my Sopwith Pup, was a 

pockmarked pattern of grayish mud 
sliced by the enemy trenches. A small 
puff to smoke signalled some Hun in- 
fantryman's almost laughable attempt 
to take me out. I waved; don't know if 

he returned the salute. 

Above me was at least one more 
enemy, the bright summer sun. I pull- 
ed the Pup into a tight climb, gaining 
altitude so that a German diving from 
the sun, hidden in the brightness, 
would have less of an advantage. We 
were heading toward the Allied tren- 
ches, me and Carl in his own bullet- 

40 electronic Gamw 

holed Pup a hundred yards to the east. 

Carl pointed up. I caught the glint of 
sun on the fabric of what looked to be 
a Fokker DR1 diving at us, its gun 
making that odd chattering sound 
which always seemed somehow un- 
real. I banked quickly, as tight as I 
could just in time to see Carl's Pup fold 
back its wings and go down trailing 
smoky fire. 

The Fokker, below me now, tried to 
slip to the right but I was on him and I 
knew the advantage would be mine 
for one quick burst. Would my gun 
jam? I aimed. . . . 

For anyone who has ever hearkened 
to hear the stories of the superhuman 
fliers, the air aces of the First World 
War, this new game of Eagles will 
prove a most rewarding simulation. 
While its play mechanics can be mas- 
tered in less than an hour, the tactical 
maneuvering of plane against plane 
will keep any computer gamer's in- 
terest at a high (no pun intended) 

German and Allied planes from all 
periods of the war, as well as special 
two-seater planes and even anti- 
aircraft artillery balloons, are well rep- 
resented in this game. The various sce- 
narios can involve up to ten fighter 
aircraft per side. Even better, the com- 
puter can pilot any of the planes in- 
volved on either side. Here's a compu- 
ter game which can be played soli- 
taire, two- player or with teams of 

Players must envision a three- 
dimensional field of play. Squares of 
fifty yards on a side run north, south, 
east and west. There is a third dimen- 
sion, of altitude, each level of which is 
25 feet. Pilots have visible to them, via 
two video screens, an area of four 
squares distance. 

The main video screen shows an 
overhead view of the moving (or 
"phasing") plane's immediate vicinity 
for two squares about. To the right of 
this pictorial display is listed the plane's 
ID number, its altitude, altitude of 
cloud cover (which may be set at the 
beginning of play), and a list of what 
commands the plane will respond to. 

Another screen, called by pressing 
"O" for Overview, details the com- 
plete four square area in a text read- 
out. The text will show each sighted 
plane's altitude as well as how many 
squares east or west, north or south 
each plane is from the phasing plane. 
It also details the individual headings 
and attitudes of each aircraft. 

Commands are given to each plane 

via the keyboard. These commands 
allow the player to move a phasing 
plane forward one square, try for two 
squares, make 90 degree left and right 
turns, make wider right and left banks, 
try to quickly slip left or right, climb 
and dive into loops, maneuver in wild 
defense, and change altitude. Any 
pilot new to all this would be well 
advised to first tackle a two- plane 
game before getting involved in multi- 
ple fighter melees. 

Some of the commands, such as the 
banking and looping commands, ex- 
tend over two movement phases. So, 
it is important to not only envision 
what your own plane will be doing but 
what the enemy aircraft will have 
done in the meantime. 

Many maneuvers are accurate 

have downed your foe. Many of the 
possible hits, such as wing strut dam- 
age, will adversely affect the enemy's 
performance next round. 

Besides the player's piloting ability, 
other variables will affect the outcome 
of a flying circus dogfight. Obviously, 
different planes will have different 
capabilities. A Nieuport 17 would have 
a hard time facing a Fokker DVII. The 
Nieuport's maneuver percentage is 60 
as is the Fokker's; but its maneuever 
capability is rated at 50 as opposed to 
the Fokker's rating of 80. The Fokker 
can dive better and has a higher 
structural integrity. So, a pilot must 
know his plane and the charts. 

Each pilot in the game, whether run 
by a human or the computer, is rated 
as to his combat experience. From 

simulations of the type of dogfighting 
techniques which were used by 
airmen — whose average combat 
lifetime was around three weeks. The 
climbing half-loop, for example, must 
be mastered. A two- phase maneuver 
is the quickest way to turn 180 de- 
grees — but watch out that you don't 

Once you've maneuvered your way 
to within the same square as your 
enemy, have him lined up horizontal- 
ly, and are no more than 100 feet 
above or below him (if flying level, 200 
above if diving, 200 below if climb- 
ing), you can fire short, medium or 
long bursts with your guns. Results 
may be anything from missing the 
target to being informed that you 

novice to super-ace, each class of pilot 
will have a different amount of surety 
in controlling his craft. 

Many scenarios may be constructed 
by the player to be played either soli- 
taire or with human opponent(s) 
thanks to the most complete player 
set-up routines in the program, de- 
tailed in the rulebook. Some scenarios 
are completely spelled out in the rule- 
book and detail what type of aircraft 
are involved on each side, cloud cover, 
location of battle in relation to the 
German and Allied lines, as well as 
the exact position, heading and alti- 
tude of each fighter plane involved. 
We particularly enjoy playing out the 
included scenario #2 "Voss's Last 
Flight." Controlling super-ace Voss as 

Electronic Garnet 41 

he is outnumbered by computer-run 
craft is bound to convince you that 
your computer is really thinking. These 
aren't drones coming against you, 
they're uncannily tactical enemy 

Other methods of play involve less 
historical setups. You can choose the 
numberof planes per side and the type 
of mission being flown. You can either 
set up the positions yourself or have 
the computer place the fighters rand- 
omly (but in formation and near 
enough for combat to quickly com- 

There is even a method detailed in 
the manual which will allow for a long 
campaign game. In the compaign 
game, loosely based on Jack D. Hun- 
ter's book "The Blue Max,'' each year 
of the war is covered in two games, 
eight games being played in all. The 
overall performance of each human 
pilot is rated and successive games are 
influenced by earned ratings. As you 
down enemy craft you rise in rank and 
get better aircraft. You can even ex- 
tend the campaign game with some 
included "mini-games" which simu- 
late various smaller missions during 
the war. 

Playing Eagles calls for a good grasp 
of three dimensionality. I found that 
the overhead screen could have been 
enhanced by having some indication 
onscreen as to which plane is being 

campuTER GHmmG 

moved. A few times I managed to 
move the wrong craft, of the half 
dozen onscreen I was inputting orders 
to what turned out to be the wrong 
plane! While you can usually switch to 
the text screen and then figure which 
plane is having its orders entered, I 
thought this interfered with the 
simulation as, after all, in real life a 
pilot seldom will forget which plane he 
is in. Perhaps a later version could be 
enhanced by the plane having its 
orders cut blinking on and off. 

But the actual maneuvering of the 
craft is pretty smooth and easy to 
learn. We found the tactics detailed in 
the manual added quite a bit to the 
enjoyment of the game — as does the 
manual's rip-roaring overview of the 
period being simulated. 

If you have ever wanted to lose 
yourself in a game for a few days, but 
still have it be simple enough to ex- 
plain to a gaming friend in a few min- 
utes, then you will enjoy Eagles. It's a 
natural for both solitaire fun and play- 
ing at your next keyboard party. 

Rickerbacker, Voss, Richtofen — 
maybe even Snoopy — your comrades 
await you in the sky! 

(Neil Shapiro) 




Designed by Lord British 

Sierra On -Line /Commodore 64/Disk 

Though the name Ultima II: Re- 
venge of the Enchantress is somewhat 
reminiscent of a 1950's B movie, this 
multi-disk epic is actually a first-rate 
adventure game for the Commodore 
64. (Editions are also available for 
Apple, Atari, and IBM-PC computers.) 
Computer gamers are transformed 
into time-travelling, continent- 
spanning beings endowed with specif- 
ic goals, characteristics, and needs. 

To begin with, the player creates a 
character that will be used in the quest 
to seek out — and defeat — the evil 
sorceress Minax. In a manner similar to 
the non-electronic Dungeons & Dra- 

gons, players allot a given number of 
points to various attributes like agility, 
strength, charisma, wisdom, stamina, 
and intelligence. The player chooses to 
assume a particular race (human, 

dwarf, elf or hobbit), gender (male, 
female, or other) and occupation 
(wizard, thief, cleric, or fighter). Each 
choice enhances a certain attribute 
(fighters are particularly strong, for ex- 
ample), and a judicious strategist can 
produce a formidable alter ego. 

The character starts the game with- 
out weapons or armor in a hostile 
wilderness. To buy essentials like 
armor or food, the player must first 
visit a town or village, where a little 
common sense (and a few extra coins 


A pub/pizza parlor in Ultima II 

Through a time door in Ultima II 

for the barkeepers) can unearth im- 
portant information. 

Unlike other adventure games, 
players neither press the joystick nor 
type in commands to input informa- 
tion. Four buttons on the keyboard are 
pushed to actually move the character, 
while every other key has been 
assigned a specific function. For ex- 
ample, "A" stands for "attack", while 
"J" stands for "jump". It takes a little 
getting used to, but an adventure as 
challenging and rich as this one is 
worth a little memorizing. 

Gold is vital, to pay for information, 
equipment, or even burgers at the 
local Macdonalls. A combat victory 
usually increases a character's exper- 
ience rating, as well as his/her purse 
size! Cash and other items are also 
found in castles, towers and dungeons 
which populate this well-planned uni- 
verse. Seek and ye shall find! But don't 
run out of food or hit points (the 
amount of damage a character can 
sustain — it's generally fatal but for- 
tunately, a character can be reincar- 
nated and reinstated with all be- 
longings intact by re-booting the mas- 
ter disk. Who says only cats have nine 

Just about anyone (or anything) can 
be encountered, from musicians and 
software house VP's to the Hotel Cali- 
fornia. Despite the never-ending com- 
bat, difficult terrain, and expansive 
oceans, Ultima II has a definite sense 

42 Electronic Game* 

of humor! But don't laugh too long — 
evil creatures such as balrons, devils, 
and daemons abound. Horses, ships, 
planes, and even rockets can be found 
in the Ultima II universe as well, 
though the proper combination of 
money, keys, and equipment is 
needed to make use of them. 

Magic plays an important role in this 
fantasy. Spells can be purchased at the 
proper shops, and using them might 
pave the way for extended life and 
ultimate success. 

A beautifully designed parchment- 
like manual/storybook and a cloth 
map of the world make the adventure 

V^ . \~3*» ^ 


even more believable. A map of the 
known solar system is included to aid 
in interstellar exploration. 

Ultima II is mindboggling, because 
it combines graphics, real-time action, 
and a plausable adventure theme with 
space and time travel. About the only 
thing missing is the kitchen sink, and 
even that might be included some- 
where! The entire game is brilliantly 
conceived, gorgeously executed, and 
unquestionably absorbing. Playing it 
properly requires a commitment only 
slightly less than that needed to win 
Olympic gold, though the game's 
depth, challenge, and constant sur- 
prises makes it worth the effort. 

(Ted Salamone) 


Designed by Stuart Smith 

Quality Software/ 

Atari computers/48K disk 

The ancient Greek world of myth 
and legend is the setting for this de- 
lightful action-adventure by the 
creator of 1982's AM Baba. Smith has 
evidently further honed his already 
considerable talent, because his latest 
effort surpasses the game from which 
it has borrowed many of its play- 


The major change is that movement 
in Return of Heracles doesn't take 
place in real time. That is, nothing hap- 
pens until one of the on-screen 
characters does something. This 
makes the game less immediate, but it 
also produces a more orderly routine 
of play, especially when more than 
one home arcader is participating. 

Up to four humans control one or 
more on-screen characters as they 
move on a multi-screen map of the 
area and try to perform the legend- 
ary Twelve Labors of Heracles. Play- 
ing "by the book" requires a character 
to stop at the Oracle of Zeus, where 
the greatest of the Greek gods will 
assign one of the tasks. A heavy dona- 
tion at the Oracle of Delphi will gain 
the characters 
a hint about 
how to com- 
plete the mis- 
It's also pos- 
sible, once you 
know the 
game fairly 
well, to 
tackle the la- 
bors as they 
cross your 
paths in 

The city of Athens awaits. 

2tus n tuAftt »ma« y°u ** vl 

<«HPMr<» U «F Ml* l* TA1KJ. 

fNII «HI UAJ M»dtM !•♦ MIH«* 

»«IN« If IH M «U»HI IA»H< 

A MNNI *P ■»»• 1>HH« *• 

f>LAX«l*> IACMI »•• ••IHTI 

/•UH (UHlNf !<•»» li »»* 

A PAftUt? •A*lAM» 

it y-nit tiMAft* 
»»•<• **r t« e«*tirtw« 

Zeus evaluates players' progress. 

This does dilute the game's atmos- 
phere, which Smith has worked so 
hard to create with sound and 

Upon completion of a labor, Zeus 
congratulates the victor, bestows a 
symbolic token of achievement and 
totes up the score based on the num- 
ber of turns it took to finish the job and 
whether any characters bit the dust on 
the way to the triumph. 

Each participant can control numer- 
ous heroes and heroines by choosing 
the desired names from the roster. 
Thus it is easy to adjust the difficulty 
factor by giving novices more — and 
more powerful — minions. Running 
through all twelve labors with a single 
character would, of course, be the su- 
preme challenge. 

The command control system is 
miraculous. When an on- 
screen prompt says it's time 
to manipulate a given hero or 
heroine, the player does 
everything with the joystick. The but- 
ton cycles among sets of options, and 
moving the stick in the appropriate di- 
rection inputs one of the four choices 
in each set. Even a solitaire player 
running every available character 
won't get bogged down in the order 
entry process. 

As in most role-playing programs, 
each character has a specific set of 
attributes and equipment. Native abili- 
ties can be improved, once the char- 
acter scoops up enough drachmae, by 

Electronic Games 43 

Achilles in a "city" (left) and the map screen (right) from Return of Haracles. Apple and Commodore versions shown. 

buying training. Arms and armor can 
also be purchased at many locations. 
This is fortunate, since shoddily-made 
gear frequently breaks in combat, 
leaving the character to battle with 
dagger or even bare hands until he or 
she can buy a replacement. Those who 
want an extra edge in the frequent 

swordfights which form the main ac- 
tion of Return of Heracles can get their 
blades dipped in poison — naturally, 
for a price. 

Return of Heracles includes a lot of 
educational information about Greek 
myth, and almost every player will 
know more about this subject after 

booting the disk a few times. This is 
not, however, an educational game 
per se, and no factual knowledge is 
required to have a rousing good time. 
Sound the trumpets, pass out the 
victory laurels — Stuart Smith is back, 
and he's better than ever! 

(Arnie Katz) 



Epyx/ Commodore 64/Disk 

Welcome to the world of Pern. Epyx 
has taken the underlying theme from 
Anne McCaffrey's best-selling fantasy 
novels and turned the mythos into a 
game that combines cutthroat strat- 
egy and unusual play-action. Each 
player takes charge of a Weyr (strong- 
hold) of dragons and its riders, and 
must then jockey for political power 
and social status against rival Weyrs. 

During the first phase of a game, 
Weyrleaders negotiate with powerful 
Lord Holders (the rulers of Pern's city- 
states), and Craft Masters for support. 
Depending on the personalities of the 
individuals, an invitation to a wedding 
or a dragon hatching can improve rela- 
tions with undecided allies. The end 
result is to form alliances with stron- 
gholds (2 points per ally) or craft halls 
(1 point each). Alliances can be formed 
or broken at any time, and it's a 
shrewd Weyrleader who can rally and 
sustain the 20 points worth of alliances 
needed to win the game. 

The latter part of the contest is an 
action sequence, during which the 
Weyrleader and his or her dragons 
take to the skies to battle deadly falling 

Thread spores. If a Thread touches the 
ground, it permanently damages part 
of the planet's landscape — and often 
alienates the Lord Holder who rules 
the region. Thread is also deadly to 
dragons, and if one is touched, the 
creature must quickly jump "be- 
tween" (a sort of fantasy hyperspace) 

to cool the dangerous burn. 

Dragonriders of Pern is true to the 
novels on which its based. And though 
it can be a bit tiresome at times, there's 
enough meat there to keep players 
wanting more. The contest can take 
hours to complete, so a save-game op- 
tion has been included. To defeat craf- 
ty players, the computer ends a game 
plus or minus two Turns (years) from 
the selected number, and it's even 
possible to play all-strategy or all- 
action versions. 

Map screen from Dragonriders of Pern shows areas endangered by Threadfall. 

44 t lettronit Games 

During the battle sequence, the 
musical theme is extravagant and 
graphics are breathtaking. In the strat- 
egy phase, most of the action is de- 
scribed in words. 

All in all, Dragonriders of Pern is a 
challenging, thought-provoking game 
that allows multiple players to com- 
pete head-to-head. Though little but 
the Thread-fighting sequence will ap- 
peal to hard-core action gamers, the 
Machiavellian computer gamer will 
find plenty here to sink his teeth into. 
Epyx deserves congratulations for 
capturing so much of the novels' es- 

(Ted Salamone) 


loading docks. For example, the lum- 
ber would be brought to the sawmill, 
the oil to the refinery. Each time the 
gamer manages to deplete the loading 
area of its goods or completely satisfy 
the customer's orders, a new section 
of track is built. Eventually, this new 
spur is attached to the main line and a 
message appears telling the gamer 
that it's OK to go on to the next town. 
Although it may sound easy 
enough, there are enough features to 

In Dragonriders of Pern's action sequence, players char falling Thread. 


Designed by Interactive 
Picture Systems, Inc. 
Spinnaker/ Atari /48K disk 

More than anything, Trains recalls 
an extravagant Lionel model lay-out, 
complete with whistle, mountains, 
trees and houses. About the only thing 
missing is the Christmas tree around 
which the train should run. 

The gamer becomes a railroading 
magnate at the turn of the century. In 
each of the eight levels, the object is 
meet the schedule, make money, and 
expand into new territories. Through- 
out all of this, the empire builder must 
have enough money to cover the 
payroll, the expense of coal, and any 
damage if the train should crash at a 
dead end. 

Meeting the schedule involves load- 
ing the various products (there are 
four: oil, ore, produce and lumber) 
into the appropriate freight cars and 
bringing them to their respective un- 

prevent the game from being easily 
mastered. To begin with, the number 
and type of resource and goal sites 
change from territory to territory. For 
example, in Winnemuga (the first 
level) there are two oil wells and two 
refineries. In Colorado Springs (the 
eighth level) there is only one oil well 
(and one lumber camp and one farm 
and one mine). The gamer cannot 
ignore any of the stations. If he or she 
does, a message is printed saying that 
there is a surplus of goods or a need for 

Keeping up with demand in Trains 

them. If the player supplies the cus- 
tomer within a certain amount of time, 
a higher price is paid for the goods. 
However, when the demand isn't met 
on time, a work stoppage occurs. 

For those gamers who are serious 
about their railroading, there's a space 
bar feature. By pressing the bar, the 
gamer is able to view a graph that 
shows which sites are undersupplied 
and which have a surplus. (For begin- 
ners, pressing the "L" key will display 
a legend of the various sites.) 

The gamer has other problems to 
surmount as well. Occasionally, clouds 
pass over the area and obscure the 
view of the station. Also, if the coal 
supply runs out, the player receives a 
special delivery — but it costs twice as 
much. Oh yes, if you run out of 
money, it won't be long before a 
bankruptcy ends the game. 

As far as strategy goes, the gamer 
should try to find the shortest route 
between his stations. Even better: De- 
plete one of the resource centers and 
keep it depleted. If everything else is 
OK, stay at that station and empty it 
every so often. In this way, the build- 
ing of the spur will move along faster. 
Also, if cash is low, return to one of the 
lower levels where it's easier to make 
money. Remember the train can go 
backwards, so sometimes it's better to 
use a track that bypasses a depot. 

Perhaps the only real drawback in 
the program, and it's minor, is the in- 
ordinate amount of time it takes to 
boot and search through the disks for 
the next territories. (Is it really neces- 
sary to have two "Going to (area)" 
screens after each level?) 

(Vincent Puglia) 


Blue Chip Software/ C-64/ Disk 

So you think you've got the stuff to 
become a Wizard of Wall Street, eh? 
Before you empty that bank account, 
better try a few games of Millionaire. 
And even if the only market in your life 
sells groceries, this detailed stock sim- 
ulation is good for untold hours of fun. 
Each turn in this solitaire contest 
equals one week of real-world activity. 
Action begins in week #1 4 to establish 
performance trends for the 15 com- 
panies whose securities may be traded 
in Millionaire. The speculator must try 
to pyramid the starting $10,000 stake 
into a cool million by the end of week 

Numerous charts and graphs help 

the computerist track holdings and 

I plan transactions. One set of graphs 

Electronic G»m*s 45 



You're headed deep into the jungle. 
The treasures there .You know it. But 
between you and a king's ransom in 
gold lie tarpits and quicksand and crea- 
tures that do not like visitors. Stumbling 
running, dodging, you must push on. 
Past scorpions, logs and crocodiles. 
Toward your goal. And the only way to 
get there is through a vast... unknown. 
The gold is appealing . . .but the chance 
for adventure, that's the real reason 
to go. Designed by David Crane. 

Available lor your: 

• Commodore 64 

• ColecoVision, Adam 

• Atari home computers 

• Atari 5200 

• Atari 2600 

As you suit up you see the webbed 
forcefield surrounding your planet. 
Holding it Trapped with no escape. No 
hope. Except you:The Beamrider.The 
freedom of millions depends on you. 
Alone you speed along the grid of 
beams that strangle your planet. Alone 
you must destroy it sector by sector. 
Your skill and your reflexes alone will 
determine the future of your people. 
Take their future in your hands. 
Designed by Dave Rolfe. 

Available lor your: ^^^i^^^^^ 

• Commodore 64 

• ColecoVision, Adam 

• Atari home computers | 

• Atari 5200 

• Atari 2600 

You made it. The Olympics. You hear 
languages you've never heard. And the 
universal roar of the crowd.You will 
run. Hurl.Vault.Jump.Ten grueling 
events. One chance.You will push your- 
self this time. Further than ever. Harder 
than ever. But then . . .so will everyone. 
The starting gun sounds. A blur of 
adrenaline. The competition increases, 
now two can compete on screen at 
the same time. Let the games begin. 
Designed by David Crane. 

Available lor your: 

• Commodore 64 

• ColecoVision, Adam 

• Atari home computers 

• Atari 5200 

• Atari 2600 (1-4 players 

Aianf 26O0""and 5200"* are trademarks of Atan.loc ColecoVision* and Adam* are trademarks of Coleco Industries, Inc Commodore 64* is a trademark of Commodore Electronics, lid C 19rM.AcWasion.lnc 

You've put on your badge, grabbed your 
nightstick and headed out. But what's 
going on in that department store? A 
good old-fashioned chase that's what. 
You've got to catch the greedy little 
burglar who keeps throwing beachballs, 
toy airplanes and shopping carts in 
your path. Up the escalators. Down the 
elevators. From floor to floor. There's 
something funny going on here. Take 
charge of the investigation, lieutenant. 
Designed by Garry Kitchen. 

Available for your ______________ 

• ColecoVision. Adam *4_fc _5r\' 

• Atari home computer s ^i€[ emb_%C_. 

• Atari 5200 X^Jh^LJ?^ 

• Atari 2600 

You have heard the elder speak of one 
central source and a maze of uncon- 
nected grey paths. As you connect each 
path to the central source, what was 
grey becomes the green of life .When all 
are connected , then you have achieved 
"Zenji!' But beware the flames and 
sparks of distraction that move along 
the paths .You must go beyond strategy, 
speed, logic.Trust your intuition. Meet 
the ancient challenge. Designed by 
Matthew Hubbard. 

Available tor your: 

• Commodore 64 

• ColecoVision, Adam | 
■ Atari home computers 

• Atari 5200 

You prepare for what may be your last 
take-off. Negotiations have failed .The 
Dreadnaught moves in. You must attack. 
No single hit will stop it, you must 
destroy individual energy vents, indi- 
vidual engines. Approach. Attack. 
Swerve away Again and again. An evil 
enemy inhabits the massive Dread- 
naught. And you alone, a small speck 
in the vastness of space, fly out to meet 
it. Get on board, your ship is ready to 
leave, sir. Designed byTom Loughry. 

Available tor your. _______________ 

• Atari home computers 

• Atari 5200 


We put you in the game. 

shows stock price history for each in- 
dividual issue, another group indicates 
movement for the five stock groups 
into which the program divides the 15 
tradeable companies, and a summary 
graph records the entire market's 
weekly ups and downs. Charts give 
stock and option prices, the contents 
of the player's portfolio, and more. A 
weekly newswire gives the investor 
some hot stories, most of which affect 
the performance of one or more 
issues. The player accesses all this data 

by typing in the appropriate one- word 
command gleaned from the on-screen 

Although Millionaire can save more 
than a dozen games-in-progress to 
disk, it's strictly a lone investor versus 
the market. The program initializes a 
fresh "universe" for each game, and 

campuTER GHmmG 

only one investor per game is allowed. 
Many players will want to use the 
"save" feature to divide each game 
into a series of multi-week sessions in- 
stead of running through it in a single 
marathon sitting. 

Ornate graphics would be a 
meaningless frill in a game of this type, 
but Blue Chip's designers might've 
taken more care with the various dis- 
plays. The graphs, in particular, are 
somewhat primitive, and some may 
find them hard to interpret because of 

Millionaire gives the gamer a lot of 
balls to juggle, but its construction 
makes it surprisingly simple to learn. 
Since the player's net worth governs 
what types of trades he or she can 
make, the simulation is fairly 
straightforward at the start and only 
grows more complicated when hefty 
profits make it clear that the player is 
ready to take on wider responsibilities. 

Though not exactly a "beer and 
skittles" classic good for a half-hour of 
laughs, Millionaire is a well-tuned 
simulation that handsomely repays the 
home gamer's investment in time and 

(Arnie Katz) 




Avalon Hill/ Atari computer/32K cassette 
It's that holiest of holy holidays — 
Super Bowl Sunday — and as usual the 
followers of the gridiron have been 
sitting in their pressbox from the mo- 
ment the table was cleared. 

Despite the three interceptions 
Theisman threw, the two fumbles Rig- 
gins lost and the seventy-five yards of 
penalties the team accumulated, the 
Washington Redskins are still ahead 
by 20 points. But it is the fourth quar- 
ter, and as everyone knows, the Cow- 
boys love to play catch-up football. 

It's first and ten on the Dallas 20. 
Roger Staubach takes the snap, goes 
into the pocket, and fires one down 

the middle to his wide receiver. Hayes 
makes a tremendous catch between 
three defenders. He shakes one tackle, 
fakes out the free safety and races 
down the field for 44 yards and a 
touchdown. Five minutes later, 
Staubach does it again; only this time, 
it's a pass to his tight end, Ditka. Now 
the Cowboys only trail the Redskins by 
six. . . 

Okay. So Roger Staubach and Joe 
Theisman never could have played in a 
Super Bowl against each other. They 
starred in the same conference, and 
eleven years separated the time Dallas 
beat Miami in Super Bowl VI and the 
Redskins had their victory over the 
Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. But real- 
ity never stops people from speculat- 

ing about what might have been. 
Thanks to Avalon Hill and designer 
George A. Schwenk, computer gam- 
ers can now find out what could have 

Essentially, Computer Football 
Strategy is a game of nostalgia and 
planning. Its premise is simple: Take 
18 all-time great teams — from the 
1982 Washington Redskins to the im- 
mortal 1966 Green Bay Packers — and 
see how they would have played 
against each other. (Only one team on 
the roster, the 1981 New York Giants, 
was not a Super Bowl contender.) 
Then give the computerist a choice of 
21 offensive and 11 defensive plays. 
Just to keep the game interesting, add 
some penalties, sacks, interceptions 
and fumbles. Oh yes, include a timer 
so that the gamer-coach can't spend 
too much time deciding which play to 
run. If he has to, let him use a timeout. 

There are two basic screens in Foot- 
ball Strategy: one for play selection 
and another for play animation. At 
best, the latter screen is crude, but 
effective. No more than three huge 
blocky figures are on the display at any 
given time, but it's effective because 
the end result of the play is what really 

The play selection screen, on the 
other hand, is truly a marvel to behold. 
The entire team lines up according to 
the play chosen; that is, a gamer can 
actually see the difference in forma- 
tions between a safety blitz and nickel 
defense, or between a long pass to the 
wide receiver and a short pass to the 
tight end. 

In addition to that, the game is user- 
friendly. Once the coin has been tos- 
sed and the kickoff returned, all major 
input is via the joystick. This includes 
taking a time out, selecting a play and 
deciding whether to accept or decline 
a penalty. (Sure, it's easy enough to 
tell Don Schula to accept a penalty, 
but he's not coaching the team, you 
are.) There's even a feature to allow 
the gamer to set a two-minute warn- 
ing. In fact, about the only real criti- 
cism that can be made of Football 
Strategy is that the extra points and 
kickoff s happen off-screen. 

(Vincent Puglia) 


Gentry/ Apple II/48K Disk 

Maybe you won't smell the grease- 
pit or hear the roar of the crowd, but 
Formula I Racer by Chris Eisnaugle is 
guaranteed to produce sweaty palms 
and shifting seat postures. 

44 Electronic Games 

Unlike the excellent International 
Gran Prix, Formula 1 Racer uses a 
rather abstract means of keeping track 
of the racer's overall prowess. 

There are three skill settings. At the 
practice level there are no sharp 
curves, and no score is tallied. At in- 
termediate there are sharper curves, 
more cars on the road to be avoided 
and the disk keeps score. The expert 
level adds still more cars and more 
sharp curves. 

The human driver must complete a 
lap within 48 seconds to earn the right 
to run another one. Each track is 
5,100-5,500 simulated feet. The driv- 
er scores 10 points for each foot of 
track covered. 

Also unlike International Gran Prix, 
the driver's perspective is from behind 
the car, with posts running con- 
tinuously along the road's edge to give 
the driver a real feeling of flying down 
the road. 

As near as this driver can determine, 
roads are constructed at random by 
the computer each time you play, ev- 
ening things up for novice and ex- 
perienced gamer in head-to-head 

There is no setting for the way the 
car handles on the road, thus making it 
impossible to feel any breathtaking 
skids on the sweeping corners. 


Control of the car is handled by 
joystick. Pushing the stick forward in- 
creases the speed, while pulling the 
joystick back decreases it. Pushing the 
joystick left or right steers the car. 

One button on the joystick upshifts 
gears, while the second button down- 

shifts. There is a pause game feature to 
freeze the action during interruptions. 
Overall, Formula 1 Racer is a solid if 
limited adaptation of auto racing for 
the computer, but it is a real steal at the 
$19.95 list price. 

(Rick Teverbaugh) 




CBS Software/ Apple/48K Disk 

If you've always wanted to learn 
how to play Bridge, but hesitated to 
impose your lack of skill on a group of 
experienced gamers, this is the pro- 
gram for you. CBS Software, with the 
help of Charles Goren, has put 
together an instructional program that 
can help a novice get started or im- 
prove the skills of even an expert 

The first section of the program 
teaches the art of bidding. There are 
ten quizzes covering hand evaluation, 
opening bids, responses and rebids. 
The computer generates a random 
hand, then asks the student to solve 
the problem presented. The gamer has 

ChaHes Goren: 




two chances to give the correct re- 
sponse, then the computer provides 
the answer along with an explanation. 
For example, in the "Hand Evalua- 
tion" section, the gamer learns how to 
count the possible point total in the 
hand dealt. "Opening Notrump Bids" 
guides the user step-by-step through 
the intricacies of the auction. Each of 
the ten quizzes, which take the new 
player through all the steps of bidding, 
has a help section to prompt the be- 
ginner. There are an unlimited number 
of quizzes in each area, so the learner 
can work on a section until it's com- 
pletely absorbed and he or she is ready 
to go on to the next quiz. 

After mastering bidding, the gamer 
can advance to the play section. It con- 
tains 100 hands to provide practice for 
the fledgling bridger. First the gamer 
bids the hand, using standard bridge 
notations, and the computer bids the 
other three hands, An on-screen poin- 
ter selects cards from the player's or his 
partner's hand, and the computer 
plays the opponent cards. In this sec- 
tion of the program, the computer 
automatically corrects wrong bids if an 
error is made. When playing the hand, 

Electronic Games 49 


-:.- :-■: points 


::•:":-, *io**l points 
::.:-£•:••: : :-^--*:-.«: :::•? 

:;uht e:t-.£' DlSTJillUTIONMi mints 

Nfll •: -" =;•- E ;£ : " :■• n* 
■ : ;-••• 
- :; .-:;: -.■" ■- 

:.•.-•■■---;:■■:: . 

■ ■:■ :•>' -4- 5» j : 
■:• :: M r: 

a wrong play elicits an opportunity 
try again ; make a second error and the 
computer explains the correct play. If 
the bridge player enters a poor move, 
the computer will alert him that there 
is a better play available, then carry out 
the superior move. The hands in the 
play section gradually become more 
difficult to evaluate and play as they 
introduce more advanced concepts. 

The program presupposes some 
knowledge of the game, so comes 
packaged with an easy-to-read play- 
er's manual that includes all the in- 
struction the computerist needs to be- 

Bridge is a complicated game that 
can require many hours to learn, then 
a lifetime to perfect. Charles Goren: 
Learning Bridge Made Easy makes un- 
derstanding the game much simpler 
for a beginner, then provides endless 
opportunties for the player to hone his 

(Joyce Worley) 


Control Data/ Apple /48K Disk 

Planning a little trip abroad this 
year? Let the computer help you pre- 
pare for your holiday stroll down les 
Champs Elysees. When the ladies (or 
the gents) go to France, shopping is 
always high on the list of things to do, 
and Control Data's French Vocabulary 
For Shopping Use is the way to make 
sure that what you buy is what you 

The program provides vocabulary 
drills and practice games using roughly 
500 words that come in handy when 


shopping in any French-speaking 
country. The words are divided into 
nine categories: clothing, personal 
items, toys and game equipment, 
tools and outdoor gear, stores and ser- 
vices, furniture, household items, 
groceries, and general. First the com- 
puter displays the words, either in 
French to English translation, English 
to French, or a mixture of both. Then 
the user chooses one of the two games 
to test the knowledge acquired 
through studying the list. 

The Hangperson game is familiar to 
most players, and adapts itself per- 
fectly to the drill. The alphabet is dis- 
played at the top of the screen, fol- 
lowed by a blank to be filled in with the 
correct letters. Below this is the com- 
puter generated statement, "I am 
thinking of a word meaning — ." 
Whether translating French into Eng- 
lish or vice versa, the play action is the 
same. The computerist chooses let- 
ters from the alphabet to fill in the 


blanks. A correct guess puts the letter 
in its proper place(s) in the space at the 
top. But guess a wrong letter, and a 
segment of the gallows appears on- 
screen. Each erroneous response pro- 
duces a new section of the scaffold, 
and the gamer loses on the sixth error. 
A stick figure appears hanging from 
the gallows; the computer displays the 
correct answer, and the game pro- 

ceeds on to the next word. 

The second entertainment is the 
Pyramid Came, a series of twelve 
multiple-choice translation questions. 
The computer displays a word, then 
offers four possible meanings. The first 
question is worth $2, and each suc- 
ceeding correct response is valued at 
double the one before and fills in one 
level of the pyramid, until the player 
answers all twelve questions and the 
pyramid is completely colored. There's 
even a help option available. If the 
gamer is stumped, the computer will 
translate one of the four possible an- 
swers, so there are only three left to 
choose from. But there's a penalty in 
asking for help, since the value of the 
question is halved when this option is 
invoked. The gamer continues ans- 
wering questions, filling in the pyra- 
mid and accumulating prizes unless a 
wrong response is given. Then the 
filled-in pyramid blocks all disappear, 
and the value of the next question 
drops back to $2. 

French Vocabulary For Shopping 
Use is an excellent accompaniment for 
formal language instruction. It does 
not teach pronunciation, and only 
uses sound as a variety of boops and 
beeps that serve as auditory rewards 
during the two games. But it's an ex- 
cellent supplement to French classes, 
and perfect as a refresher course to 
brush up your vocabularly before that 
holiday shopping spree in Paris! 

(Joyce Worley) 


Wadsworth Electronic Publishing Co. 
(WEBCO) Apple/48K Disk 

Algebra Arcade challenges one or 
two gamers to plot paths across a 
graph using algebraic notations, and 
knock the bad guys off the screen 
without damaging the on-screen hero. 
A 10 by 10 square grid dominates the 
playfield when the game begins, then 
alien creatures called Algebroids take 
their positions randomly around the 
graph. Finally, the friendly Ghost picks 
a spot, and it's time to begin the game. 
Type in an equation, using numbers, 
letters and symbols from the right side 
of the screen, to instruct the computer 
to draw a line across the graph. A 
whirlwind whips down this pathway, 
and destroys any Algebroid it touches. 
Points are awarded depending on how 
many are swatted with one blow, but 
if the line plotted should hit the Ghost, 
the graph gets gobbled and the score 
is zeroed. Then a new screen appears, 

50 Electronic Carries 


and the gamer appears before The 
Committee who decide whether and 
how much to penalize the gamer for 
the mishap. 

Plotting a line across the grid can be 
tricky business until the gamer begins 
to grasp the meanings of the algebraic 
notations, but the program provides 
for practice even in the midst of the 
game. Just go to the practice option, 
experiment with different equations to 
learn what lines they'll produce, then 
return to the playfield to continue the 

The game requires a small knowl- 
edge of algebra to begin plotting lines 
on the graph, but the instruction man- 
ual provides the new gamer with a few 
sample equations to get started. It's 
very simple to draw straight lines 
across the field and knock off Algeb- 

roids in this way. But higher scores 
result from more complex equations 
that produce curves that strike several 

of the little creatures with one line. 
Therefore the gamer develops a real 
interest in learning more complicated 

Algebra Arcade is a lot of fun to 
play. It's very interesting to see the 
tangible result of mathmatical equa- 
tions take form on the graph, and 
entertaining to watch the whirlwind 
rush down the line that the equation 
produces, knocking off Algebroids. 
But possibly the greatest value of the 
program lies in the desire for more 
knowlege that the game produces in 
the player. It's impossible to play the 
game without wishing for more skill in 
algebraic notations, which makes it a 
great motivator for students of every 

And besides, it's fun. 

(Joyce Worley) 



Atarisoft/TI 99-4a/Carthdge 

Get out your handkerchiefs, gam- 
ers. Donkey Kong has got Mario's girl 
again, and its up to the fearless 
carpenter to save his girlfriend from 
the overgrown ape. Mario must scale 
four different structures and surmount 
Donkey Kong's obstacles throughout 
each of them to rescue his sweetheart. 
He only has three chances to get to the 
top, though he can get an extra turn 
by scoring seven thousand points. The 
Tl 99/4a version of Donkey Kong has 
all of the exciting features of the 
arcade game, plus the added advan- 
tage of a built-in pause control, which 

is activated by pressing the space bar. 
This gamer was very pleased with the 
cartridge's crisp, clear graphics and 
smooth action, and Tl owners will 
probably agree. 

(Joseph Pedreiro) 
(Siobhan Stevens) 


Atarisoft/ Commodore 64/Cartridge 

Any home version of Williams' 
classic coin-op is bound to lose some- 
thing in the translation to the small 
screen. After all, the control scheme 
with its plethora of buttons (thrust, 
fire, smart bomb, hyperspace and re- 
verse) had to be adapted to a standard 

home joystick. But Atarisoft's C-64 
cartridge is one of the weakest De- 
fender variants, mostly due to its poor 
horizontal scrolling action. 

Players use the joystick to maneuver 
a spacecraft across the horizon of an 
alien planet. The action button fires 
the laser gun, while the space bar on 
the keyboard controls the screen- 
clearing smart bombs. (Be prepared to 
let go of the joystick at a moment's 
notice, or learn to play with your feet!) 

The scanner screen, which true De- 
fender fans count on to track the 
enemy, is almost useless, since all 
enemies show up as tiny blips. Each 
attack wave is considerably shorter, 
and bombers and pods less dangerous, 
than in the coin-op version. But the 
problem that most affects the game is 
the choppy scrolling action and the 
difficulty players have in firing and 

52 t lectronlc C»m« 

moving at the same time. 

Though dyed-in-the-wool De- 
fender freaks will find this game frus- 
tratingly unlike the original, it is the 
only duo-directional scroller available 
as of this writing. To determine if the 
game's drawbacks overshadow its 
good points, players should attempt 
to "try before you buy." 

(Trade Forman) 


Imagic/IBM PCjr/Cartridge 

When it first made its appearance in 
Atari 2600 format, Imagic's Demon 
Attack represented the state of the 
videogame art. Time — and a few 
dozen newer space invasion games — 
has dimmed the original's lustre some- 
what, but the latest version — for the 
IBM PC jr — takes it right back to the 

The PCjr Demon Attack utilizes the 
dual playfield set-up introduced by the 
Intellivision model. The demons 
swoop menacingly over the surface of 
the moon, with good old Terra loom- 
ing large in the background. Then, af- 
ter taking on the Big Enchilada's wing- 
ed minions, the player meets the de- 
mon himself in a second screen de- 
signed to take your breath away. A 
magnificently articulated, multi- 
colored strata of astral brimstone sits 
at the top of the playfield and, jutting 
prominently from the volcanic crown, 
the awesome countenance of Big Red 
looms over this deep space scenario. 
The demon opens his mouth and — 
wow! — harpies fly out! The object is 
to obliterate the winged demons be- 
fore they leave the lair, zapping one of 

compuTER Gflmmc 

the three layers comprising their 
homestead with each hit. When the 
fortress has been breached, aim a shot 
at the demonmeister's cyclopean eye 
and the entire field shimmers and dis- 
integrates. This sequence makes the 
best use of the PCjr's graphics of any 
piece of software on the market. In 
fact, it's so good that arcaders may 
find themselves resenting the time 
they're forced to spend on the some- 
what trite invasion racks. 

The only real complaint centers on 
that invasion scenario. As mentioned 
earlier, the Earth takes up so much 
space on the lunar playfields that the 
lower right quarter of the display is 
virtually "whited out" by it. Once a 
demon or the player's cannon move 
up against the planet, they are all but 
blotted from view, making play rather 
more problematic than it should be 

Demon Attack was never anything 
more than a gorgeous clone of 
Phoenix-type arcade games, but this 
new version is a copycat that has sur- 
passed its archtype. 

(Bill Kunkel) 


Atarisoft/TI 99 -4a/ Cartridge 

Gamers hungry for a little action can 
now rejoice. Pac-Man is now available 
tor use with the Tl home computer and 
he has as big an appetite as ever. The 
features that made Pac-Man an 
arcade legend can all be found in this 
new home version — with the excep- 

tion of the money-muncher's in- 
termission screens. 

Graphics and sound effects are clear 
and crisp, and the player will find the 
added options of nine skill levels and a 
pause function, which is activated by 
pressing the space bar on the compu- 
ter. To resume play, just push the joy- 
stick in any direction or press the fire 
button. Once the level of difficulty is 
chosen, the gamer proceeds to guide 
the dot gobbler through the maze, 
chomping those dots and staying 
ahead of the goblins, while trying to 



gobble up those tasty bonus nuggets. 
With nineteen (and up) consecutive 
mazes to master and tireless goblins to 
battle, the gamer is advised to get 
comfortable and to be well rested. 

(Joseph Pedreiro) 
(Siobhan Stevens) 


AtariSoft/ Apple II/48K disk 

This proves that the designer of 
Robotron, the celebrated final chapter 
in Williams' coin-op Defender trilogy, 
definitely did not have the Apple II 
computer in mind. So this isn't exactly 
regulation Robotron, though it is at 
least distantly recognizable. 

On the other hand, this disk is pretty 
entertaining on its own. The core of 
the program is the unorthodox control 
system. The joystick moves the robot- 
fighter around the enemy-infested 
playfield. One action button activates 
the hero's gun, while the other causes 
its arc-of-fire to rotate around the 
character's position. It's a little tough 
to get used to, but it makes for an 
exciting and fast-moving contest with 
lots of narrow escapes from doom. 
Give the anonymous designer credit 
for an imaginative solution to this 
translation problem. 

(Arnie Katz) 


AtariSoft/ Commodore 64/Disk 
There's never been a better home 

Electronic Games 53 

edition of this racing game, which did 
so well in arcades during 1983. The 
C-64's audiovisual limitations 
notwithstanding, this is the smooth- 
est, most exciting Pole Position yet 
offered to computerists. 

The big difference is the control 
scheme. Drivers change gears with the 
action button, accelerate by pushing 
the stick forward and slow down by 
pulling it towards them. (The car does 
not decelerate when the stick is 
allowed to return to the neutral posi- 


The cartridge offers four courses, 
each of which can be used with one to 
eight laps. Novices will want to try one 
or two laps, because high-speed 
crashes eat up so much precious time 
that it's very hard to qualify, much less 
actually place among the leaders in a 
real race, if your auto becomes a fire- 

(Steve Davidson) 



Designed by George Hoffman, 
Janet Orelove & Joseph Prieboy 
Kangaroo/ 'Apple/48K Disk 

My House-My Home brings the 
dollhouse into the computer age in 
this entertainment that should keep 
kids amused for hours on end. Just as 
with a traditional miniature dollhouse, 
the object is to arrange and rearrange 
furniture throughout the tiny dwell- 
ing. But the fun comes from the com- 
puter, as the user chooses and discards 
various items, even pets and people, to 
decorate the home that takes shape 
right on screen. 

After the title page, a cutaway of a 
two-story house with an attic appears, 
with the on-screen hero displayed at 
the bottom of the stairs. Move up and 
down the stairs or into any room, then 
the scene changes to a closeup of that 
location. The rooms are all empty 

when the program starts. A moving 
conveyor belt along the bottom of the 
screen presents furniture, and the 
young decorator chooses items for 
that room. A cursor then appears to 
guide the placement of each piece of 
furniture, and the arrow keys rotate 
the selected item left or right. When 
the furniture is turned to the desired 
angle, and the cursor is in the correct 
spot, the item is placed in the room. 
Then the conveyor belt of furniture 
starts rolling again, until that room is 
decorated. Then return to the whole 
house display, and choose another 
room to decorate. With four rooms 
plus the attic, there's quite a variety in 
furnishings to choose from. The com- 
puterist can change the decor many 
times, placing various belongings 
throughout the house, then adding 
people to the rooms along with cats 
and dogs to round out the pleasant 

My House- 
My Home; 

[V ^ 1\ 

I I 

i i 







f & 

rn \ 

Km* mm 


<k/VNC.AROO~ < — i "- 



domestic scene. 

Each item placed in a room auto- 
matically appears in front of any pre- 
viously positioned furniture — it's not 
possible to put anything behind some- 
thing already on screen, so this can 
lead to amusing juxtapositions of 
items in the house, as furniture is 
layered one piece on top of another. 
This also permits deliberate stacking, 
such as putting a lamp on a table, or 
the dog on his master's bed, or the cat 
in a chair. Errors are quickly corrected 
by removing the last piece placed or by 
clearing an entire room of the furniture 

Movement is accomplished either 
by keyboard or joysticks. With only a 
little parental instruction, My House- 
My Home can be played by any age of 
computerist. It may never actually re- 
place traditional dollhouses, but every 
youngster (and quite a few adults) will 
enjoy this video version! 

(Joyce Worley) 


Designed by Samuel Wantman 

& Art Bardige 

Scarborough Systems/Atari 48K Disk 

Songwriter turns your computer 
into a musical instrument, then lets 
kids and adults experience a wide var- 
iety of musical concepts in an enjoy- 
able way. It takes no musical ability 
whatsoever to play with Songwriter 
but students who have a background 
in music will find a wealth of experi- 
ence to help them toward even greater 
pleasure from their art. It's a good way 
to learn about musical intervals, scales, 
rhythm and structure, but Songwriter 

54 Electronic Cimn 

is a lot more, since it offers hours and 
hours of entertainment. 

The manual that accompanies the 
program is an intergral part of the fun. 
The folks at Scarborough must have 
known that computerists would be 
anxious to play tunes, because the 
manual begins with a "Quick Start" 
section that lets even a beginner write 
songs immediately. Use the joystick 
and keyboard for a variety of func- 
tions, or the keyboard alone. Moving 
the joystick back and forth moves the 
on-screen cursor up and down the 
piano keyboard depicted on the moni- 
tor, and pushing the button records a 
note. Change the length of each note, 
erase bad tones, then play back the 
melody you've composed. Save the 
compositions for future use, then edit 
and rewrite them to suit yourself. 

Songwriter also comes with a couple 
of dozen prerecorded songs on disk, 
available for playback any time. The 
computerist can even take one of 
these prerecorded masterpieces, alter 
•it to suit himself, then play it back with 
the changes he's created. 

Once the computerist has become 
thoroughly acquainted with the Quick 
Start section of the instruction manual, 
serious students will want to study the 
Total Guide. By working through the 
booklet, all the controls and variations 
in the program are spelled out in detail 
. . . and there are a lot of variations 

available, using the keyboard to 
change note lengths, tempos, 
rhythms, half-tones, scales, and sound 

An on-screen metronome adds a 
visual indication of the tempo, which 
can be altered through 20 different 
speeds. The program can also be set to 
name each note as it's played, and in 
this way reinforces formal musical 
training. The manual includes in- 
structions for connecting the compu- 
ter to a stereo, so that the musical 
compositions can be heard to their 
best advantage, and the program even 
comes packed with the necessary con- 
necting cables for making the hookup. 

Best of all, it's almost impossible to 
sound bad using Songwriter. The 
genius of the program is that even a 
musical illiterate can turn out a 
respectable-sounding theme. 

(Joyce Worley) 


Designed by Sterling & Barbara Johnston 
Playground Software/ 
Commodore 64/Disk 

Here's an electronic coloring book 
for kids that even adults will like! Com- 
puter Crayons has ready-to-paint 
scenes to delight children of all ages. 
It's operated by an illustrated menu, so 
tykes don't have to be able to read in 
order to play. 

It works with a standard joystick, 
but the best way to play with Compu- 
ter Crayons is using a light pen. The 
Edumate Light Pen, $34.95 from 
Futurehouse (the parent company of 
Playground Software) is perfect for 
young Rembrandts. 


First choose from four sizes of 
electronic crayons; then touch the 
alphabet symbol. The computer paints 
a letter on screen, starting with A. 
Press the symbol to make a picture 
appear. "Dip" the cursor, or the light 
pen, into the on-screen color pots and 
paint. If the color gets outside the 
lines, there's even "clear" paint to 
erase the wrong strokes. When the 
picture is finished, press the animation 
symbol and it comes to life. The air- 
plane propeller spins, an animal runs 
out of the barn, the chicken hatches a 
baby clucker, and so forth through the 
26 letters of the alphabet. 

A sketch pad option lets the artist 
draw his or her own masterpiece on 
the screen, then color it in. There's 
even a piggy bank symbol to save any 
art that's created, so it can be called up 

Computer Crayons is a very creative 
way for kids to interact with technolo- 
gy. It teaches the alphabet, then adds 
an entire entertainment dimension 
through the "coloring book pages'.' 

(Joyce Worley) 


Electronic Games 55 

e Newest Controllers 



As the crisp autumn air reminds us 
that it's time to stock up the larder 
against the upcoming winter freeze, 
many home arcaders are also taking 
stock of their gaming provisions. All 
that nifty pre-Christmas software is 
starting to find its way to retailers' 
shelves — and on to thousands of holi- 
day must-have lists as well. But, as 
peripherals manufacturers have 
already learned, eye-popping graphics 
plus razzle-dazzle play action still adds 
up to zero without a comfortable, 
easy-to-use controller in hand. 

This year's line-up of brand-new 
controllers is far smaller than last year's 
joystick bumper crop. In light of the 
recent joystick shakeout, many man- 
ufacturers have adopted a wait-and- 
see attitude about the precarious in- 
dustry, which lately has had more ups 
and downs than a carousel horse. 

For example, Wico, the joystick 
giant, is standing by its established 
Command Control line of arcade-style 
joysticks, which includes ball-topped, 
bat-handled, and trigger-grip joysticks 

56 Electronic Games 

for the Atari and Commodore home 
gaming systems. An Apple, IBM, or 
TRS-80-compatible analog stick, 
featuring a wide-middle base and two 
action buttons, is among Wico's new- 
er releases, though it hasn't made the 
huge splash that the keypad/joystick 
combinations have made among In- 
tellivision, Atari 5200, and Colecovi- 
sion owners. Wico's low-end Atari- 
compatible controller, The Boss, is also 
still enjoying a wide popularity, due in 

part to its low price and wide distribu- 

Kraft is also holding the line with its 
well-established joysticks, including a 
left-or right-handed Atari model and a 
two-button Apple joystick with built- 
in trim control. With the impact Kraft's 
excellent controllers have already 
made on the market, perhaps the 
company thinks it superfluous to to 
release any new ones. 

The newest company in the field is 




High Score, which debuted its lap- 
style, ball-topped joystick at the win- 
ter Consumer Electronics Show. 
Attractively packaged in its own black 
canvas carryall, the deluxe High Score 
Tournament Master features left- or 
right-handed control, two fire buttons 
for Colecovisionaries, and an auto-fire 
mode with its own LED indicator. The 
Tournament Master is available for 
most major game and computer sys- 
tems, and it's color-coordinated to 
match its corresponding equipment. A 
no-frills version will be available soon 
as well, priced to serve the lower-end 
"popular" market. The controller will 
be basically the same, but without the 
carryall, LED indicator, and other non- 
essential niceties. 

Gim Electronics, which caused a 
minor sensation with its Fire Com- 
mand for the Atari and Colecovision, is 
bringing a 5200-compatible version to 
the market. With a slightly different 
feel than its non-analog cousins, the 
5200 Fire Command features a y- 
adapter that must be connected to the 
keypad for full compatibility. Gim also 
dropped the price of its entire line from 
$40 - $55 to an average of $30. 

Intellivision and Coleco owners can 
look forward to their very own ver- 
sions of Amiga's pint-sized Power 
Stick, adapted to include a fully- 
compatible keypad. It looks and plays 


just like the Atari Power Stick, but the 
keypad has been piggybacked on at 
the top. 

And speaking of keypads, Cham- 
pionship Electronics introduced a Col- 
ecovision keypad that can be plugged 
into any Atari-compatible joystick to 
allow play with Mouse Trap, War 
Room, and other games that require a 
bit of number-pressing. It fits Cham- 
pionship's own Super Champ, as well 
as the new wireless Remote Champ 
and the smaller, two-button Mini- 

Like Wico, Suncom is standing firm 
with its established line of joysticks, 
including the TAC-2 and Starfighter 
models. The new controller from Sun- 
com isn't a joystick at all, but rather a 
user-friendly graphics tablet called The 
Animation Station, being introduced 
for the Atari, Commodore, and IBM- 
PC computers. Unlike other touch tab- 
lets, The Animation Station is shaped 
just like a TV monitor, so users can 
create pictures which fit their screens 
exactly. An excellent drawing program 
is included in the package. 

Add another excercise-oriented 
controller to Suncom's Aerobics Joys- 
tick and the Amiga Joyboard. Exus 
Corporation's Foot-Craz pad is a floor 
mat for use with the Atari 2600. The 
mat, which features several different 
colored sections, is plugged into the 

if *< 1 




Electronic Games 57 


2600 for use with the two games in- 
cluded in the package, Jogger and Re- 
flex. In Jogger, the object is to run as 
fast as possible to catch up with an 
on-screen foe. The faster the gamer 
runs, the faster his or her electronic 
persona moves on the screen. Reflex is 
a derivative of the old Simon-style re- 
flex games, requiring the player to step 
on the appropriate color of the mat in 
response to screen prompts. Exus will 
also be marketing an add-on joystick 
for exercise bikes. 

Spectavideo's more conventional 
Colecovision joystick/keypad features 
full Coleco compatibility, suction pads 
on its bottom, and a top-mounted fire 
button (the second action button is 
located on the stick's grip). It's got an 
extremely light feel, though neither 
button is contoured to fit the fingers. 

Another company relatively new to 
the field is Comrex, which is known for 
its line of monitors, printers, and other 
peripherals. The Atari-compatible CR- 
301 (how's that for a catchy name?) 
features sleek, high-tech styling with a 
pretty rounded base and small, 
fingertip-controllable stick. Like Gim 
Electronic's 5200 Fire Command, the 
CR-301 is micro-switch-based, giving 
gamers a satisfying, "click click" re- 
sponse to any press. 

Several new companies have in- 


troduced bargain-basement sticks de- 
signed to compete with low-priced 
gourmet controllers like Wico's The 
Boss. The Transcriber Co. Inc. is show- 
ing The Faster Blaster, a tiny mem- 
brane controller that's compatible 
with all nine-pin systems like the Atari. 
Retailing at the bargain-basement 
price of $7.95 list, the Faster Blaster 
still might not appeal to traditional 
home arcaders because of its odd con- 
trol scheme. The up and down controls 

are located on top of the right and left 
controls, instead of the more sensible 
north, south, east and west orientation 
of similar products. 

Another low-end joystick is Per- 
sonal Peripherals', Supr Stik. With its 
pretty red base and single top 
mounted button, the Supr Stik has a 
looser feel than a standard Atari joys- 
tick, though it plays about the same. 

Everyone's jumping on the light 
pens bandwagon these days, and 
companies are providing plenty of 
software products to use with their 
own variations. Tech-Sketch, one of 
the leaders in the field, has an excellent 
light pen for use with the Atari com- 
puters. Drawing and art, education, 
and entertainment are among the 
areas covered by Tech-Sketch's add- 
on software packages. Though Atari 
introduced its own light pen, its soft- 
ware support is far more limited. 

Commodore and VIC-20 owners 
can enjoy Futurehouse's Edumate 
Light Pen, which is completely 
keyboard -activated and comes with 
three programs on a disk. 

For in-depth information on these 
and other new joysticks, keypads, foot 
controllers, and oddities, stay tuned 
for hands-on reviews in EG's "In Con- 
trol" column, in every issue of 
Electronic Games. 

56 Electronic Games 









$3.00 OFF THE BOSS. The grip that lets 
you boss any game around. 

Analog Joystick. A must for the serious 
computer game player. 

Handle. The only control lhat gives you the 
feel and authenticity of the arcade at home. 


WICO is offering big bucks back when you buy 
a new control before September 30, 1984. 

WICO has specific controls for everyone. And NEW rebates 
to go with them. You can get big bucks back on THE BOSS 
(S3) and on these Command Control products: The New 
Super 3-Way Joystick ($5)r Joystick/Keypad for Coleco' 
($3): Numeric Keypad for Atari' 5200™ 
(S2), Bat Handle Joystick (S5). Analog Joy- 1A/ W 
stick for Atari '5200 m ($3) The TAKE FIVE WW M. 

rebate offer is specifically for the Computer Command 
Analog Joystick for Apple" and IBM.' There are rebates 
galore. Your WICO dealer will show you how to get your 
rebate on all the controls offered when you make your pur- 

— — — — chase. It's simple. And you get your money 

JH fm back fast So get going. Get scoring. And take 

f&tf mW advantage of these money saving rebates. 




Coleco" Atari; Apple* and IBM - are trademarks respectively ot Coleco Industries, Warner Communications. Apple Computer Inc., and International Business Machines Corp 

"Super 3-Way Joystick (50-2002). Joystick/Keypad tor Coleco (50-0320) 

WICO' is a registered trademark of Wico Corporation. G 1984 WICO Corporation 






The Commodore 64 is the 
fastest-selling home compu- 
ter in the U.S., having entered 
more than one million Amer- 
ican homes during 1983, its 
first year of availability. 
Although Commodore's 
other micro, the VIC-20, still 
had twice as many owners as 
the 64 as of January 1 , 1984, 
few doubt that the more 
powerful C-64 will erase the 
gap this year. 

Analyzing the popularity of 
something as complicated as 
a computer is tricky, but the 
price-value equation seems to 
be the main factor influencing 
the purchase of the C-64. The 
machine simply gives a lot for 
the buck, though other sys- 
tems often boast superiority 
in one or more individual 
areas such as graphics resolu- 
tion, sound generation, mem- 
ory, and user-friendliness. 
The C-64's secret appears to 
be that it rates at least better- 
than-average in every respect 
— and it does so at an attrac- 
tive retail price. 


A computer system goes 
through three stages of soft- 
ware support from the time 
the manufacturer rolls the first 

60 llectronlc Games 

production unit until it 
achieves its peak of popular- 
ity. The history of trie Com- 
modore 64 closely conforms 
to this pattern. 

The first stage is no soft- 
ware support. The first group 

of pioneering C-64 purchas- 
ers had to wait as long as a 
month after getting their sys- 
tems home before the first 
games hit store shelves. Oh, it 
was a lonely time. . . . 
During the second stage, 


most of the software pro- 
duced for a system consists of 
translations of games first 
programmed for other 
machines. The hard-charging 
C-64 plunged full speed 
ahead into this stage by mid- 
1983. Companies such as 
Broderbund (Lode Runner), 
Electronic Arts (M.U.L.E), In- 
focom (the Zork trilogy) and 
Epyx (Gateway to Apshai) 
quickly made it obvious that 
modern home-game classics 
would henceforth appear for 
the system as a matter of 

The third stage begins 
when software publishers be- 


Lead the Revolution! 

You're an unhappy Interface 
Robot ( # 1984) in rebellion against 
"Big Brother' - and his "Evil Eyes" 
The Evil Eye dictates the "Law". 
The Eye will kill you if it sees you 
breaking the Law. Your mission- 
destroy the Evil Eye. 

You can break the "Law". Just 
don't get caught! The Law is sim- 
ple! No jumping 1 Not to worry You 
can jump to the red zones while 
the Eye isn't looking. But look out 
if it turns red and sees you. After 
you've advanced far enough, you 

can blast the Eye and reach the 
magic Pyramid. Then it's on into 
space to liberate the next uni- 
verse. Trouble is, there are 10 or 
15 different nasties trying to 
bomb, slice, crush, saw, eat, or 
otherwise destroy you 

I, ROBOT is HOT! It's so new you 
won't believe your eyes. 

It's awesome new 3-dimensional 
graphics, incredible animation, 
over 100 different waves with 22 
playfield "terrains", and more. 

So get into it. Down with B.B.! 


gin producing programs for 
the system. Actually, com- 
panies like Tronix (Juice!), 
Creative Software (Spitball) 
and Commodore (Star Ran- 
ger) have been producing 
major new titles for the 64 
market almost from the be- 
ginning of its lifespan. 


The process of translating 
hits originally published for 
other home computer sys- 
tems continues, and there's 
been a marked upswing in 
software expressly created for 
the C-64. Some companies, 
such as DataSoft, are now de- 
veloping games for the 64 — 
and then translating the re- 



suits for rival brands of com- 

Commodore itself has 
tremendously upgraded its 
software program in the last 
12 months. For a company 
that many once damned as 
knowing nothing about re- 
creational software, Com- 
modore's recent track record 
is truly amazing. Its line-up 
blends arcade translations 
(Kick-man, Gorf, Wizard of 

Wor) with some startlingly 
good created-for-the-home 
titles (International Soccer, 
Jack Attack). 

The entry of Atarisoft into 
the field has proven to be 
another C-64 software mile- 
stone. Now the Sunnyvale, 
Ca., publisher's hits are finally 
available for this and other 
non-Atari hardware systems. 

The most favorable sign, 
however, is that virtually ev- 

ery software publisher has 
produced at least a few C-64 
titles — or plans to do so in 
time for the big fall selling sea- 
son. Though the library of 
games for the Com modore 64 
is still smaller than those for 
the Apple and Atari compu- 
ters, the difference grows 
smaller by the week. An elec- 
tronic gamer can now buy a 
C-64 confident that virtually 
everything of interest will be 
made in C-64-compatible for- 
mat now or in the near future. 
As game designers become 
more familiar with the Com- 
modore's particular machine 
language codes, C-64 owners 
can expect to see more titles 
released for their own com- 
puters first. 


nocb s 

49 Qi •--. PLRVEP5 


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62 Electronic Game* 



Arcade-to-home transla- 
tions are numerous for the 
Commodore 64, though the 
home editions sometimes fail 
short of the mark when it 
comes to audio-visual effects. 
On the other hand, the availa- 
bility of numerous excellent 
C-64 compatible controllers 
— the system is compatible 
with the Atari 2600, Atari 
home computers, VIC-20 
and, to some extent, the Col- 
ecoVision — means that 
effective control of on-screen 
objects is seldom a problem. 
Commodore is readying an 
accessory which greatly en- 
hances the sonic output of 
certain games such as Corf, 
which will make home car- 
tridges sound more like the 
play-for-pay inspiration. 


Pac-Man and Ms. Pac- 
Man, both on cartridge by 
Atarisoft, have 
made the 
journey from 
the fun palaces 

to the Commodore 64 in fine 
shape. As always, the extra 
features of Ms. P, including 
the multiple mazes and 
mobile bonus objects, make it 
the bigger attraction to most 

Command control for both 
titles is excellent. The ability to 
corner quickly when the gob- 
ins close in makes these pro- 
grams fun to play. 


Pac-Man and Ms. Pac- 
Man aren't the only Bally 
coin-ops which have 
made it to the C- 
64. God and 
Wizard of Wor, 
on cartridge, are 
both available from 
Commodore, and they're 
a pair of satisfying programs. 
WoW is especially appeal- 
ing, since two can play 
simultaneously, either 
head-to-head or co- 
Williams' Defender, 
which in- 

scrolling shoot-outs, is now 
an AtariSoft cartridge for the 
C-64. Except for the sound, 
the cart is much like the quar- 
ter-snatcher, but Defender is 
looking a little creaky com- 
pared to such newer scrollers 
as Repton (Sirius) and Aquat- 
ron (Sierra On-Line). Still, this 
edition should prove mod- 
erately pleasing to the legion 
of Defender buffs. 

Frogger is among a recent 
spate of Parker Brothers car- 


tridges. Some gamers feel this 
cartridge is as good or bet- 
ter than the play-for-pay de- 
vice. In any case, it's a joy to 
see and a delight to play. Par- 
ker is expected to market car- 
tridges for Super Cobra and 
Q'bert in the near future. 

AtariSoft's cartridges based 
on Battlezone and Centipede 
are decent, if not Arkie win- 

ners. The former's vector 
graphics don't travel well to 
the C-64, while the latter 
loses a measure of its cuteness 
in this version. Centipede, in 
particular, does have pretty 
good play-action, and it's 
worth a check by invasion 
game fanciers. 


Possibly because the hard- 
ware itself is so new, transla- 
tions for the C-64 are general- 
ly recent titles from the 
amusement centers. 

Atari computer owners 
might be a little jealous about 
AtariSoft's Pole Position car- 
tridge. Its novel approach to 
control stamps this as the best 
of the home editions. Atari- 


Soft's Jungle Hunt cart is also 
a stand-out. It features play- 
action like the coin-op, set off 
by a crisp visual treatment 
that some will consider more 
attractive than the original. 
Robotron (AtariSoft), on the 
other hand, has drawn mixed 

Blue Print (Commodore), 
Solar Fox (CBS Software) and 
Rootin' Tootin' (HES) come to 
the C-64 without a glowing 
pedigree of arcade super- 
success, but all are likely to 
flourish in the home gaming 
environment. They require a 
bit more strategy than most 
action games, and so seem 
perfectly suited for play on 
the C-64, where skill can be 
honed over hundreds of 

Electronic Games 63 


mm OQ273EO Jfc ] 
It I I I I I I I .-? I I 1 1 I I 1 I I *±- 

»_«_«_»-J. A* - 1 - 1 -: •■•■:JUUUL *rt -«_■_■- 

;ty = ! = ! = !=J-!-!: 

'i"i~ i~Q~i"Q_ t" m 


AIM. . .FIRE! 

There's no lack of shoot- 
'em-ups for the C-64, includ- 
ing several created expressly 
for this system. Attack of the 
Mutant Camels (HES/Car- 
tridge), Jeff Minter's invasion- 
game sequel to Cridrunner 
(HES/Cartridge) has all the 
thrill-a-minute action of the 
earlier title along with quite a 
few improvements, especially 
in audio-visuals. The C-64 
edition of Threshold (Sierra 
On-Line) lacks the limited 
vertical movement capability 
of the Apple disk, but the abil- 
ity to move at super-speed for 
brief periods of time keeps 
this program fresh and enjoy- 

Jeff Minter's latest, Lazer 
Zone (HES/Cartridge) has a 
novel play-mechanic. The 
computerist controls shooters 
which move along the bottom 


and righthand edges of the 
playfield depending on which 
direction the player pushes 

the stick. There's a lot of 
subtlety along with the shoot- 
ing in this one. 

Adding a dose of strategy 
to the combat action are a trio 
of disks from Synapse: Zeppe- 
lin, Ft. Apocalypse and Sha- 
mus. Case II. All three origi- 
nally appeared for the Atari 
home computers, but are now 
on store shelves for the Com- 
modore sustem as well. Zep- 
pelin is particularly good, 
since the home arcader can 
improve the odds of escap- 
ing the Timelord's cavern 
by shooting the switches 
which control elements of the 

Science fiction shoot-outs 
for the 64 include the Arcade 
Award winning Astro Chase 
(First Star) and Neutral Zone 
(Access Software). The for- 
mer is a thrust-fire contest 
with a patented control sys- 
tem that allows the player to 
fly in one direction while 
shooting in another. The 
latter is a first-person flying 
and shooting game set in a far 
corner of the universe. 


Parker Brothers has its 
arcade-to-home translation 
of Mylstar's Q 'Bert ready to 
hop to market, but a couple of 


superb color-changing games 
are already waiting to chal- 
lenge the block-hopper for 
the affections of C-64 gamers 
Pogo Joe (Screenplay/disk) 
is a C-64 exclusive which 
boasts state-of-the-art 
graphics, multiple playfields, 
hummable musical score and 
near-flawless programming. 
The idea is to bounce the 
clown on the pogo stick from 
cylinder to cylinder, changing 


the tops to the desired colors. 
Eggs containing animated 
toys hatch periodically, and 
Pogo Joe must avoid some 
while chasing down others 
to gain bonus points. 
Flip & Flop (First 
Star/Disk) has 
two heroes 
instead of the 

64 Electronic Games 


usual solo 
star. Flip the kan- 
garoo hops around a playfield 
built of small platforms con- 
nected by ladders, while 
Mitch the Monkey swings 
across the underside of the 
same configuration on alter- 
nating screens. 


David's Midnight Magic 

(Broderbund/disk) won 
awards as an Apple program, 
and is now collecting more 
fans since Broderbund put 
it on the C-64. Its two 
level playfield, capability for 
multi-ball play and restrained 
use of features such as kickers 
and drop targets make it a 
connoisseur's delight. 
Night Mission Pinball (Sub- 
logic/disk) remains the most 
ornate pinball simulation ever 
produced for this or any other 
system. Bruce Artwick has 
done an astounding job of 
transposing the real pinball 
experience to the world of 
electronics. Why, the player 
even has to insert an digital 
quarter before each game 8 
unless you're playing off pre- 
viously won free rounds, of 
course. . . 
Programs worth a look by 

pinballers are Slam Ball 
(Synapse/Disk) and Spitball! 
(Creative Software). The lat- 
ter isn't really pinball, but its 
play-action — shooting 
spheres through gates to 




score — should 
appeal to sil- 

If you'd rather build your 
own, there's Bill Budge's Pin- 
ball Construction Set (Elec- 
tronic Arts/Disk). Non- 
programmers can easily 
assemble a wholly original 
pinball table using the joy- 
stick controlled parts box. 


Quantity is still skimpy, but 
it's hard to knock the quality 
of games like International 
Soccer (Commodore/Car- 
tridge), Computer Baseball 
(Strategic Simulations/Disk), 
Ringside Seat (strategic 
Simulations/Disk), and Pit 
Stop (Epyx/Cartridge). 

Strong signs point to the 
end of the sports game 
drought this year. By the end 
of 1984, C-64ers will be able 
to play Starleague Baseball 
(Gamestar), Rally Speedway 
(Adventure International) and 
basketball and tennis games 
from Commodore. Also 
heading for the home market 
is Epyx's eagerly-anticipated 
World's Greatest Baseball 
Game, which offers both 
arcade-style and statistical re- 
play options. 
Football? Well, 
maybe. . . 

The same design team that 
created the World's Greatest 
Baseball Game is working on 

a companion disk covering 
football. Commodore, too, is 
said to be working on a grid- 


iron project. First into the 
stores, however, could be 
Avalon Hill's Football 
Strategy, a skill-oriented 
program that emphasizes 
canny play-calling on offense 
and defense. 


The Pac-family doesn't 
have a lock on labyrinth pro- 
grams. On- Line's Jawbreak- 
er II and T&F's Candy 

Bandit utilize linear rather 
than twisty mazes, while 
Creative Software's Trash- 
man sports an assortment of 
convoluted mazes set off by 
cute graphics and an unusual 


Miner 2049er (Res- 
ton/Disk) and Lode 
f Runner (Broder- 
bund/Disk, Car- 
tridge), both Arkie 
winners in 1983, 
now have C-64 edi- 
tions. They're 
excellent, too. 
The cartridge version of 
Lode Runner includes "only" 

Electronic Garrwi 65 


17 playfields, but gamers can 
use the screen generator to 
build new ones to keep the 
challenge fresh. 


Jack Attack (Commodore/ 
Disk) features a blend of 
climbing, block-pushing and 
squashing that should hook 
those who enjoy a dose of 
strategy with their action. The 
22 playfields present a series 
of puzzle-like situations 
worthy of any arcade ace. 

Gust Buster (Sunrise/Disk), 
a balloon flying contest, lacks 
the stickless movement sys- 
tem pioneered on the Col- 
ecoVision edition, but is 
otherwise the same fine elec- 
tronic obstacle course. 


Return of Heracles (Quali- 
ty/Disk), Gateway to Apshai 
(Epyx/Cartridge), Pharoah's 
Curse (Synapse), Quest for 
Quintana Roo (Sunrise), 


Bristles (First Star/Disk) 
turns housepainting into a 
charming — and enjoyable — 
contest. You've got to climb 
and descend ladders to 
brighten the walls of a series 
of increasingly complex 


Zombies! (Bram), Maze- 
Master (HES) and Telengard 
(Avalon Hill) lead an unusual- 
ly strong field of games. 

Quest for Tires (Sierra On- 
Line) and Dragon's Den 
(Commodore) are closer to 
mission-completion games 
than true adventures. Tires' 
outstanding graphics and 
humorous touches stamp it 
as one of the best "cute 
games" yet produced for this 
system. Dragon's Den, casts 
the player as a knight on a 
winged charger in a multi- 
phase battle against evil. 



66 Electronic Games 



Avalon Hill and Strategic 
Simulations are the two main 
publishers of skill-oriented 
electronic board wargames. 
AH currently offers a pair of 
tank games, T.A.C. and Pan- 


zer-Jagd. The former com- 
bines electronic and non- 
electronic elements to simu- 
late small-unit fighting, while 
the latter gives a full graphic 
treatment to tank-hunting ac- 

Tanks are also the subject 
of SSI's Tigers in the Snow, 
one of the first titles in this 

(Access Software/Disk) and 
Whirlwind (Broderbund/ 
Disk). The former is a multi- 
phase treatment of WWII 
Pacific theater action, while 
the latter evokes infantry- 
tank actions of the type com- 
mon in the European sectors 
of the same conflict. 


Millionaire (Blue Chip) and 
Computer Stocks & Bonds 

(Avalon Hill) both cater to 
would-be wizards of Wall 
Street. Both provide consider- 
able scope for wheeling and 
dealing, and Millionaire, in 
particular, is an intricate 
simulation of the ins and outs 
of the stock market. 

If commercially exploiting a 
new planet is more your 
thing, check out M.U.L.E. 
(Electronic Arts), a multi- 
player festival of wheeling 

extensive line to come to the 
C-64. Other translations 
already available or set to 
launch shortly are Eagles, 
Battle for Normandy and 
Knights of the Desert. 

Blending military Strategy 
with action are Beach Head 


and dealing. If your financial 
interests are more down-to- 
Earth, you can try your hand 
at running a computer com- 
pany in In the Chips (Creative 


Two outstanding detective 
games for the C-64 are Mur- 
der on the Zinderneuf (Elec- 
tronic Arts/Disk) and Murder 
By The Dozen (CBS Software/ 
Disk). The EA solitaire pro- 
gram turns the player into one 
of eight famous detectives 
who must solve a murder on a 
trans-Atlantic zeppelin. Mur- 
der by the Dozen challenges 
sleuths with 12 


Infocom and Sierra On- 
Line dominate the adventure 
game category, though 
Adventure International has 
translated most of its well- 
known puzzle dungeons into 
the C-64 format. Virtually all 

Quest, is unique from other 
standpoints as well. Most 
obviously, it is the first 
attempt to turn a TV drama 
into an adventure program. 

Ultima II, the classic "role- 
playing" adventure, is also 
available for the C-64, and 
Lord British's Origins Systems 
is set to release all future Ul- 
tima games, like its four - 
character Ultima III, for this 
popular home computer 
system. (3 

Electronic Games 67 


The Rise — and Fall? — 




Ask a mathematician what 
"vector" means, and the reply is 
likely to be something like, "A physical 
quantity that has magnitude and 
direction in space, as velocity and 
acceleration." But pose the same 
question to a videogamer and the 
answer will be more like, "A system of 
graphics that etches straight lines onto 
a screen." 

Vector graphics, a staple in the 
arcades as well as home videogaming 
(the Vectrex system by GCE), requires 
the engineer to have a very strong 
sense of geometrical concepts like 
translations, dilations, rotations, map- 
pings, and XY coordinates. (In 
layman's terms, these can be inter- 
preted as movement, changes in size, 
spinning, and the actual construction 
of an on-screen object.) Anyone 
who's ever slept through geometry in 
school would probably never associate 
those terms with the kind of fun they 
have playing videogames. 

While the more traditional raster- 
scan graphics are still more widely 
used in arcade and home games, there 
are plenty of advantages to using vec- 

68 Electronic Games 

tor graphics. For one thing, vector 
makes it easy to draw many on-screen 
objects — and move them — with 
precision, and color resolution is espe- 
cially crisp. Vector graphics systems 
have their drawbacks as well. It's just 
about impossible to produce real-look- 
ing images due to the lack of shad- 
ing, and large areas are often left 
empty of detail. However, vector's 
biggest drawback is its considerable 
cost, at least in arcade machines. (The 
home vector graphics system, the 
Vectrex, actually costs less than other 
gaming machines with comparable 

When Cinematronics' Space Wars 
arrived in arcades in 1978, the new- 
born videogame market was given a 
boost by the machine's novel tech- 
nology. (Larry Rosenthal, creator of 
Space Wars, is widely credited with 
having invented vector graphics. He 
later left Cinematronics to form a com- 
pany called Vectorbeam.) 

Space Wars was an imaginative, 
original game with its basis in a game 
created in 1 962 by computer students 
at MIT. The game allowed two players 

to simultaneously battle each other in 
space, with ships looking very much 
like the Starship Enterprise and the in- 
signia worn on its crew's uniforms. 
The game ushered in a new set of 
controls, like the thrust and fire modes 
and the ever-popular hyperspace 
option. Previous games had fewer 
controls (usually one or two). 

Cinematronics later went great- 
guns into vector graphics games, re- 
leasing titles like Starhawk (reminis- 
cent of the death-star trench sequence 
in Star Wars), Tailgunner (the first 3-D 
first-person videogame, which was 
also one of the few games that didn't 


of a Controversial Display Technique 

use a timer), Rip Off, Armor Attack, 

and more. The same company also 
holds the rights to Cosmic Chasm, the 
first home-to-arcade license from 
GCE's Vectrex system and one of the 
few full-color vector graphics games in 
the arcades. 

If Sega, now a subsidiary of Bally/ 
Midway, were to be identified by one 
word, that word would be: revolu- 
tionary. The vast majority of its games 
were innovative — consider Zaxxon 
and Turbo. What really set the world 
afire, though, was Space Fury. 

Its game play wasn't all that new, 
but what grabbed people were two 

things: color vector graphics and voice 
synthesis. Up until 1981 when Space 
Fury was released, game players were 
either playing vector games in black & 
white, or vector games with a colored 
plastic overlay on the screen. Sega 
didn't seem satisfied with present day 
technology, so it decided to reinvent 
the vector process. It opted for vector 
graphics primarily because of the 
sharpness of detail and an edge over 
raster screen, which at the time was 
being used for a majority of the games 
on the market. 

The second innovation Space Fury 
delivered was voice. This wasn't en- 

CCE's Solar Quest for the Vectrex, 
pictured above; Sega's coin-op 
Star Trek at left; Gravitar. by 
Atari, is shown below. 

Electronic G»m« 69 


raster-scan graphics, the vector sys- 
tem hasn't been completely ignored. 
In 1979, Lunar Lander became Ata- 
ri's most talked-about game, at least 
partly because of its novel vector 
graphics, but also because of its lever- 
type control scheme. In the game, 


tirely new with Berzerk and Corf 
already out, but the alien's voice had 
something different about it: It was 
human! It seemed as though someone 
uttered, "So, a creature for my amuse- 
ment" in a voice so clear, it absolutely 
riveted gamers to the spot. 

Since that time, Sega's raster to vec- 
tor game production has been five to 
one, with only Zektor, a vector Zax- 
xon with a female voice, and the 
colorful voice-enhanced Star Trek. 

Atari has been a brilliant star in the 
videogaming world for quite some 
time, and the name shines very bright- 
ly indeed, when we speak of Atari's 
coin-op division. Though Atari has 
made a name for itself with typical 



The following is a 

partial list of the 

best vector games to have ever zipped 

across a screen: 






Star Wars 



Omega Race 


Armor Attack 

Space Wars 

Star Castle 

Star Hawk 




Cosmic Chasm 


Star Trek 

Web Wars 


Space Fury 

Star Trek 

The diagram below illustrates the difference between vector and raster 
graphics. Vector plots line by line; raster, pixel by pixel. 



players controlled a small lander, 
attempting to set it down on different 
flat outcroppings of rock. 

When fans clamored for more, Atari 
responded with what was to become 
the most talked-about vector- 
graphics game of all time: Asteroids. 
The rest is history! 

But vector graphics are not for 
arcaders alone. When GCE entered 
the videogaming field in 1982, its 
main idea was to develop an alterna- 
tive approach. By utilizing vector tech- 
nology and 64K capability, the only 
vector-based home videogaming sys- 
tem was born. 

The Vectrex includes its own sound 
chip — generating more arcade real- 
ism than the mass-produced sound 
chips used on every other home device 
— and its own built-in monitor, which 
provides sharp vector graphics and 
easy portability, as well as freeing the 
family TV set from being monopolized 
for hours on end. Add to this an 
arcade-style control panel, and a solid 
stand-alone hit was born. 

Though its black-and-white moni- 
tor was the state-of-the-art in vector 
graphics at the time, technology has 
caught up to the Vectrex, and the last 
year has seen the introduction of full- 
color games, computer ability, 3-D im- 
agery, and extra controllers (like light 

While laserdisc technology seems to 
be squeezing more traditional arcade 
games into the cold, the game's not 
over yet for vector graphics. Star Wars 
is one of the hotter games gobbling 
tokens right now, and more vector 
games are sure to grab their share be- 
fore the tallies are in. However, the 
future of vector is unpredictable. Q 

70 Electronic C»m« 


in Tn e "-.«« to • 

ett* el 



JB • 

When executives m the electronic gaming world want the 
lowdown on the latest developments m their field, they turn to 
Electronic Games Hotline the bi-weekly newsletter from 
the same folks who bring you ELECTRONIC GAMES Maga- 
zine. It's a "must read" for gamers who really want to be in the 

Electronic Games Hotline zooms into your mailbox every 
two weeks, packed with hot-off-the-press news about every 
facet of electronic gaming — especially the booming world of 
computer games. Plus. Electronic Games Hotline pre- 
sents the inside, behind-the-scenes news of the major cor- 
porations that make up the gaming industry — what's happen- 
ing today and what s to come in the future. Best of all Elec- 

tronic Games Hotline gets you the big stories while they're 
still hoti 

Each eight-page issue also features no-nonsense reviews of 
all the latest games and hardware. First fast and factual— 
you'll know what's really happening almost as fast as our 
editors find out 

Electronic Games Hotline will never be available on any 
newsstand, but you can get it home delivered regularly for 
less than the single copy price of $2.00. Get six months of 
Electronic Games Hotline (13 bi-weekly issues) for just 
$25.00 or subscribe for a full year (26 issues) for only 
$45.00— a savings of $7 00 on the single copy cost 

Don't end up on the outside looking in, read the 
latest news in Electronic Games Hotline every two weeks! 

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*> c 



Get Into the Action with Lucasf ilms r Ballblazer! 


Atari - Lucasf ilm/ Atari 5200 

Ballblazer introduces an entirely 
new method for depicting video 
sports. The overhead and side per- 
spectives employed by all previous 
sports software simply can't match the 
immediacy of Ballblazer's first-person 
perspective. A horizontally divided dis- 
play gives each competitor in this in- 
stant classic an athlete's-eye view of 

There's plenty to watch, too. The 
folks at Lucasfilm have invented a 
sport for tomorrow — and turned it 
into a rousing cartridge gamers can 
enjoy right now. Fortunately, Ball- 
blazer has relatively few rules, so con- 
testants can focus on whipping their 
rotofoils up and down the checker- 
board playfield to capture the ball and 
push or blast it through the op- 

ponent's goal beams. The action is 
fluid and continuous, something like a 
mechanized version of soccer played 
at super speed. Pat Methany's per- 
cussive soundtrack works beautifully 
with the visuals to keep the feeling of 
excitement at fever pitch. 

The cornerstone of Ballblazer is the 
rotofoil. Each side has such a one- 
person vehicle with which to catch, 
dribble and shoot the ball. Since the 
rotofoil faces this elusive sphere 
whenever it's up for grabs, players 
simply rush forward, using the joystick 
to steer, and try to capture it. Once a 
rotofoil has the ball — indicated to the 
other player by a glowing faceplate — 
the rotofoil immediately adjusts to 
face the enemy goal . The defender can 
then try to take away the ball by roar- 
ing up to the rival rotofoil and blasting 
the sphere loose by hitting the action 


72 Electronic Games 


Carrying the ball through the up- 
rights earns a point. A team can score 
one to three points by blasting the ball 
through instead, with the goal's value 
depending on the distance of the suc- 
cessful shot. An information line lo- 
cated between the halves of the split 
screen counts down the clock and logs 
the score of the match in progress. The 
time limit for each game can be set 
prior to the start of play using the func- 
tion keys. It's possible to practice Ball- 
blazer against an android foe, but the 
cartridge really flies highest as a two- 
player showdown. 

Ballblazer is both a solid example of 
how fresh creative forces can in- 
vigorate game software and produce a 
professional programming triumph. 
Lucasfilm has avoided the seductive 
trap of piling complexity upon com- 
plexity and created a cartridge which 
looks and sounds great, plays smooth- 
ly and fills a significant gap in the 
electronic sports game category. Ball- 
blazer is gaming at its finest. 

(Arnie Katz) 



Activision continues to stretch the 
limits of the Atari 2600. Its lat- 
est, HERO, is not quite on a par with 
Pitfall II, but it is a playable, graphical- 
ly appealing action adventure that is 
good enough to plug in the 2600 
adapter for — or even lug the VCS 
itself out of the closet. 

The on screen character is an armed 
trouble-shooter with a jet-pack strap- 
ped to his backside. He zips quietly 
through a multi-colored, block-like 
maze which represents a mining tun- 
nel deep beneath the planet's surface. 
There are miners trapped down there, 
gasping for air and energy, and what 
kind of Hero would let them perish? 



He must avoid the "pitfalls" that infest 
this underground labyrinth and rescue 
the trapped, subterranean workers. 

Along the way, there are clutching 
arms, invisible shaftways, boobytraps 
and your standard assortment of 
things that go boom! in the night. 
Hero, in turn, can fire a handgun at 
adversaries or plant one of his bombs 
in order to obliterate some annoying 
obstruction. But energy is running out, 
and it's only replenished when the 
next miner is saved! 

This is a simple, but surprisingly 
endearing contest, which, despite its 
scaled down opticals, does not con- 
stantly remind the gamer that he's 
playing this one on a 2600. It's a good, 
solid videogame, one that would be a 
plus on any gaming system. 

(Bill Kunkel) 

indicated balloon. 
Pushing the 
button while 
the stick rests 
at neutral 
pumps buoy- 
ancy into the 

Adding and. 
ing air 
from the 


balloons allows the vendor to 
change altitude. Windsocks 
posted at the extreme left of 
the multi-screen playfield indi- 
cate how the winds are going 
at each height. If the arcader 
wants the vendor to float to the 
East, he accomplishes this by caus- 
ing the on-screen character to attain 
an altitude which is experiencing 
winds in the desired direction. 

There's a constant need to change 
altitude to avoid obstacles like the fire- 
works display or the peanut-chucking 
elephant, and to take advantage of the 
bonuses for certain landings. Setting 
down in a crowd enables the vendor to 
sell balloons for bonus points, while a 


Sunrise Software/ColecoVision 

This solo flight over an amusement 
park obstacle course doesn't use the 
joystick in an orthodox manner. Push- 
ing the controller in the appropriate 
direction selects one of four balloons 
which the vendor is clutching. Pushing 
the action button while moving the 
stick to the side releases air from the 


^S 1 


Electronic C»m« 73 


rendezvous with a popcorn truck lets 
the balloon man restock. Touching 
down anywhere gives the character a 
chance to replace any balloons which 
have been punctured from the supply 
in his pocket. 

Gust Buster is a genuinely unusual 
program, unlike any other action 
game available for this popular 
videogame system. Though its de- 
licacy may be lost on the more brutish 
blast brigaders, this lighter-than-air 
romp is likely to please most home 

(Arnie Katz) 


Atari/Atari 5200 

The division between computer 
games and their videogame cousins 
grows hazier every day. With Atari's 
release of Dan Gorlin's smash compu- 
ter game Choplifter!, the line com- 
pletely disappears. 

The 5200 version is, in a word, sen- 
sational. Its excellent animation and 
graphics are reminiscent of the Atari 
computer cartridge, but the two- 
button action from the original Apple 
game has been restored, thanks (for 
once) to the 5200 controller's two- 

button joystick. 

One player directs an armed chop- 
per, which forays across the border 
into hostile enemy territory. The ob- 
ject of the mission? To rescue as many 
of the 64 American hostages as possi- 
ble and bring them safely back to U.S. 
grounds. But the copter can only hold 
16 at a time, and each successive trip 
brings new hazards to be overcome, 
like tanks, fighter planes, and smart 
bombs. 5200 fans, this one's for you! 
(Trade Forma n) 




Mattel '/Intellivision 

Who, you ask, is He-Man? Shame 
on you. He stars in his own TV cartoon 
show, wherein "he" and his assem- 
bled cronies, known collectively by the 
humble moniker, "Masters of the Un- 
iverse", do battle with the minions of a 
skull-faced reprobate named Skeletor. 
The prize in this ongoing war between 
good and evil is Castle Greyskull, an- 
cestral home of He-Man's secret 
identity, Adam. 

Now you know who He-Man is. 

Unhappily, this knowledge has little 
impact on a player's enjoyment, or 


lack thereof, of the videogame. Mattel 
obviously intended this to be the first 
of a projected series of cartridges in- 
volving this cast of comic book-type 
characters, which will now never be 
published. Whatever the intent, the 
result is a virtual shambles. 

He-Man & the Masters of the Un- 
iverse is a prime example of a mind- 
less license. He-Man and Skeletor, the 
only characters who appear in this 
contest, could just as well be anyone. 
Or for that matter, no one. He-Man 
pilots a flying craft and blasts away at 
fireballs, which inexplicably clog the 
airways while pursuing a grounded 
Skeletor, who is frantically scrambling 
about on the horizontally-scrolling 
surface. The object is for He-Man to 
drop a sort of Skeletor-catcher just in 
front of the bone-faced bad guy as 
many times as possible. Frankly, con- 
sidering the fact that Skeletor is 
apparently unarmed and He-Man is 
packing both a laser and a flycatcher 
on board his flying gunboat, he 
emerges as something of a bully within 
this context. He-Man a bully!? Perish 
the thought! 

The bottom line is that this game is 
boring. Within the first five minutes 
eyes begin to glaze over. I mean, once 
you've captured Skeletor fifty times, 
there's relatively little left to appeal to 
the sporting arcader. The visuals are 
nice enough, but not up to the "super- 
graphics" designation as "Super 

(Bill Kunkel) 


Interphase/ 'Coleco Vision 

Last year's multi-segment climbing 
game, published by Sirius Software for 
a selection of popular home comput- 
ers, takes on fresh life in this cartridge 
from Canada's Interphase. By cleaning 
up the original program's few rough 
spots and augmenting audio with 
computer-generated speech, the pub- 
lisher has made a good game even 
more appealing. 

The on-screen protagonist is Sam, 
last seen patrolling the sewers in an 
earlier Interphase title. This time, he 
must climb to the top of a 48-story 
building to retrieve a satchel of cash. 
Creatures scuttle back and forth on 
just about every crossbeam, and 
touching one costs Sam one of the 
four "lives" with which he enters the 

There are two methods for avoiding 

74 Electronic Games 


deadly contact with the creatures, 
both of which have the added advan- 
tage of scoring extra points. Sam can 
either use a combination of moving 
the joystick and hitting the action but- 
ton to leap safely over a monster or he 
can jump right on the creature's head, 
temporarily immobilizing it. As Sam 
climbs higher and higher, the monsters 
get taller — and therefore, harder to 
leap — and become less vulnerable to 

The voice, which doesn't require 
any attachments, is very intelligible. 
Though the comments Sam makes 
don't have any major bearing on the 
progress of the action, the phrases are 
well-chosen and are uttered at appro- 
priate times. For instance, when Sam 
finds one of the special prizes which 
earns him an extra life, he shouts, 

Squish 'Em is a fast-paced, fairly 
straightforward cartridge that holds 
up well under replay. Interphase has 

given new life to an unjustly over- 
looked electronic game. 

(Arnie Katz) 



Pitfall has assumed the position of 
Activision's flagship title, now pro- 
duced for virtually every major 
videogame and computer system for- 
mat. The standards for these transla- 
tions have been uniformly high and 
the Colecovision version is no excep- 

Gamers will instantly recognize the 
elements comprising this horizontally- 
scrolling adventure. Pitfall Harry 
moves over lakes, crocodile-infested 
waters, quicksand and a variety of sim- 
ilar deathtraps including snakes, fire 
and deadly scorpions. The object is to 
scarf up as much treasure as possible 
along the way. 

Colecovision's Pitfall is remarkably 
similar to the traditonal graphic treat- 
ment seen on previous versions, and 
the joystick-manipulated action is 
quite crisp — cleaner than usual, in 
fact, for a contest on this system. 

To clear the obstacles, Harry can 
jump past them, pass under them (by 
falling into a pit, though it costs him 
points) or swing over their heads with 
the help of his vine. 

Sound effects are only minimal in 
this game, sounding much like the 
2600 version, a bit disappointing con- 
sidering the CV's potential. 

(Will Richardson) 

Get involved 
with drugs 
before your 
children do. 

Sooner or 
later, someone's 
going to offer to turn 
vour children on. 

chances are, you 
won't be anywhere 
in sight. 

So what can 
you do? 

Obviously, the 
time to talk to your children about drugs 
is before they have to make a decision 
on their own. 

Which means you have to learn 
something about drugs. 

Learn the dangers. 

Learn about peer pressure on a 

But it's through love and 
understanding that you can be the 
most effective. 

You can get a lot more ideas from 
the booklet. "Parents: What You Can Do 
About Drug Abuse." Write: Get Involved, 
P.O. Box 1706, Rockville, Maryland 20850. 

1 1 A public service of this publication 

and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 



CALL l-(714)-736-153i1 


Electronic Cimes 75 

The Light (Pen) Fantastic! 

% id you know that some disgrun- 
BF tied (and badly misinformed) 
customers have telephoned light pen 
manufacturers to complain that their 
pens were not lighting properly — 
even in a darkened room? Or that 
most people think the only thing a 
light pen can do is draw images on a 
computer screen? 

These misunderstandings are a 
function of the product name itself or 
advertising that always shows some- 
one drawing something on a screen. 
Regardless, we're going to set the rec- 
ord straight. 

To begin, light pens don't emit light, 
they respond to light. The function of a 
light pen is to locate a position on a 
computer screen and inform the pro- 
gram when it's found. Light pens are 
entirely dependent on the quality of 
the programming that's driving them 
and are generally less forgiving of error 
than other forms of input hardware. 
They are among the most precise 
means of communicating with your 
computer yet developed. 

To understand how a light pen 
works and interacts with program- 
ming, you have to know a little about 
how an image is formed on your TV or 
monitor screen. 

INTO fl 



All "television" images are created 
by sweeping a high voltage beam be- 
hind the faceplate of a picture tube 
(Note: solid-state image devices 
whether LCD or otherwise simulate 
this process — they don't actually per- 
form it.) The beam travels horizontally 
across the picture tube (from top to 
bottom) about 340 times to form a 
single video image. Each time the 
beam traverses the tube it is positioned 
slightly lower than the time before 

When all 340 lines are generated the 
screen blanks momentarily and the 
process begins again. As it travels the 
beam causes the phosphors that coat 
the inner surface of the tube to emit 
light and it is these glowing phosphors 
that you actually see. This is true 
whether the tube is monochrome 
(black and white) or color. 

Of course, there is a great deal more 
to forming a picture on a computer or 
television screen than this, but know- 
ing that the basic image is comprised 
of lines of glowing phosphors is crit- 
ically important to the operation of 
light pen. A few more facts. Each com- 
plete image is flashed across the screen 
30 times per second. RGB monitors 
paint their images one color at a time 
while composite monitors work the 
same way as standard televisions. 

So what does all this mean? 

It helps explain how a light pen 
works A light pen senses an increase 
in brightness on the computer screen. 
As each line that comprises the picture 
is generated by the computer and TV/ 
monitor, it gets brighter (as the screen 
refreshes itself) for a fraction of a 
second. The pen senses this moment- 
ary increase in brightness, which 
corresponds exactly to that portion of 


76 Electronic Games 






• •t 

the program which created the image, 
and signals the program. Because a 
light pen program is written to input 
the signal that comes from the pen, it 
can recognize the exact location of the 
tip of the pen. With that information 
the computer can mark a point on the 
screen from which to draw a line or 
character, etc., or a point to connect 
another point to, or an instruction. It 
all depends on the program. 

If that was a little difficult to un- 
derstand, lets just say that a light pen 
locates a position on the screen, and 
having found it, tells the program "I'm 
here!." It does so by sensing a change 
in the various light intensities that 
make up a television or computer im- 
age. Once the computer knows the 
position of the pen it can correlate the 
information back to the program and 
execute a command. 

The plot thickens as we look at fea- 
tures that make one light pen a whole 
lot better and unfortunately, a great 
deal more expensive than another 

The overall sensitivity of a light pen 
to minute changes in light intensity is 
critical, but so, too, is its ability to reject 
unwanted light. There's a carefully de- 
signed balance of overall sensitivity, 
accuracy, and rejection. If a pen is too 
sensitive it can pick up ambient light 
(that is light that falls on the TV screen 
from sources around the room) or light 


from the wrong place on the picture 
tube. If a pen is not sensitive enough 
you may have to increase the bright- 
ness of the picture to uncomfortable 

For these reasons the photo sensor 
in the pen is placed behind a lens. A 
well-designed lens can focus a precise 
beam of light into the pen and when 
placed in a proper housing, reject light 
from unwanted sources. 

The precision of computer grade 
light pens (some costing up to 
$400.00 or $500.00) differ from their 
home computer counterparts primar- 
ily in sensitivity and selectively. They 
are simply far more precise as are the 
computers they have to work with. 
Most home computers cannot pro- 
duce a high resolution image (in the 
truest sense of the word), so a preci- 
sion light pen is not needed That is 


why a $30.00-$40.00 light pen will 
function well with a 19-inch color 
television, but might fall apart with an 
RGB monitor hooked up to a 
$3000.00 plus personal computer. 

If you are interested in high preci- 
sion work, don't even consider spend- 
ing less than $100.00 for a light pen or 
you will be disappointed Another cri- 
tical factor is response time. If the pen 
is too slow you'll have to wait for the 
system to respond. Here we are talking 
about fractions of a second, but then 
add up quickly when working with a 
light pen. A half-second lapse is an 
eternity when you expect an im- 
mediate response and will quickly fati- 
gue a user if it happens over and over 
again. Light pen response time is 
measured in nanoseconds (a common 
scientific term referring to billionths of 
a second) and a precision computer 
grade pen should respond within 300- 
500 nanoseconds, while a pen de- 
signed for home use should respond 
within 500-700 nanoseconds. One 
important factor to keep in mind is that 
the software has to be up to the level 
of the hardware. Some delays ex- 
perienced in using light pens have not 
been the fault of the pen or computer 
but have been caused by the program 
itself. A program written in BASIC 
takes a long time to accept input and 
react to it. Or a program that has to 

Electronic Ctmes 77 

manage a great deal of overhead — 
screen images, lots of data and cal- 
culations, etc. may only be able to read 
the light pen port once or twice a 
second. In that case your input simply 
has to wait on line for its turn to enter 
the computer. 

One last point before getting brand 
specific is that light pens can do a lot 
more than simply drawing pretty pic- 
tures. They are, after all, input devices 
and as such can enter data into pro- 
grams in the same way as a joystick, 
trackball, digitizer pad etc. 

In this respect there is one area in 
which they have no equal for speed, 
ease of use and accuracy — menu 
selection. For example, if you have a 
great many programs residing on a 
diskette and a simple light pen pro- 
gram you can boot the disk, look at the 
directory and by pointing the pen at 
the screen, touch the button and enter 
your program selection instantly. 

For the past six months we have 
been using and evaluating light pens 

manufactured by Tech-Sketch. When 
we looked for a pen to use with the 

ultimate computer game station (see 
EG January, 1984) EG selected the LP- 
15; list priced at $115.00 as the best 
overall value. This unit is now fur- 
nished with Micro-Illustrator, the 
same program that made the Koala 
Pad a household word. This pen, by 


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(please pnnt) Subscribe. Services 

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First, there was Dragon's Lair Now there is SPACE AGE, the newest laser disk 
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booklets specially written to teach you the patterns and strategies to help you 
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Box 25535. Portland. OR 97225 

78 Electronic Games 

the way is similar to — and based on — 
the design of the company's $400- 
plus industrial light pens. We continue 
to recommend this unit without re- 
servations, however it is a costly, preci- 
sion instrument. Perhaps a good 
second choice would be the LP-10 at 
$39.95 which is both serviceable, stur- 
dier than most others and extremely 
well made. If you opt for this model 
you must purchase the Micro- 
Illustrator program separately, 
although the pen comes with a simple 
drawing program called Paint-N- 
Sketch 1. It, and its brethren from 
other manufacturers, is simply not in 
the same league as the LP-15. 

Currently, the LP-15 comes with a 
small push-button switch but a tip- 
switch version may become available if 
consumers demand it. With a tip 
switch, you simply push the pen at the 
picture tube and contact is made. It's a 
nice touch for some applications. Light 
pens aren't for everyone but they are 
fun to use, make drawing easier than 
anything but a $600.00 plus digitizer 
pad, and have no equal for menu 
selection. At the least we would rec- 
commend every reader try one, or buy 
an inexpensive unit with which to ex- 
periment with. Q 


The Doc Examines Your Questions 

Ve Gods and little joysticks, but we 
have got a ton of questions this 
time out! Therefore, I suppose it be- 
hooves me to forgo my usual urbane 
introductory chitchat and move right 
to the torrent of queries. . . 

Q: If the Atari 5200 has about 16K 
and the Colecovision has 24 to 32K, 
how can the 5200 produce equal qual- 
ity graphics? Also, why has Atari be- 
gun marketing the 600XL and the 
800XL? (Tod(j Havens Daytoni OH ) 

As First off, Todd, memory alone 
does not single-handedly determine 
the quality of a system's graphics. The 
5200 and Colecovision, for example, 
employ a different "sprite" system, 
which means that they go about 
rendering images in different ways. 

Examine Centipede for the 5200 and 
then look over the Atarisoft version for 
the CV. Both look beautiful, but quite 
different, with the characters being 
drawn much larger, for example, on 
the CV. 

Regarding the computer line, Atari 
is offering both a 600 and 800XL for 
the same reason it originally turned 
out a 400 and 800 computer. The 
600XL has less resident memory, but is 
also less expensive. This is known as 
marketing items at a variety of "price 
points", so that, no matter that your 
financial status, there should be a 
machine available to you. It's not un- 
like walking into a supermarket and 
seeing three different sized boxes of 
Cheerios. They all have the same cere- 
al inside, only the amount — and the 
price, of course — differs. 

Qs Can Atari's joysticks hurt Coleco 's 
system or software? 

(Claude Richards, Dale City. VA) 
A: No. (Getting succinct, aren't we?) 

Qs How can software companies 
such as Sega, Parker Bros., etc. always 
produce the Intellivision version of 
their game last? In fact, it seems as if 
many companies are no longer even 
producing an Intellivision format ver- 
sion — how come? 

(Jim Green, Dalton, MA) 
As With some exceptions (before 
closing down their Intellivision Di- 
vision, Activision produced games for 
that system independently), software 
companies will always make their In- 
tellivision version of any game after 
turning out the 2600, 5200, Colecovi- 
sion, Atari computer, and 


Electronic Game* 79 

Commodore-64 models. The reason: 
simple economics. There are fewer ac- 
tive Intellivision owners (that is, the 
folks who are still picking up software 
for their system on a regular basis and 
who have not consigned it to a dusty 
shelf in a closet somewhere) than 
there are for these other systems and, 
therefore, there is less money to be 
made from it. A quick look at all the 
retail outlets carrying Intellivision soft- 
ware marked down to $5 from $30- 
$40 a year ago tells the tale more elo- 
quently than any words. 

MS While shopping for videogames 
recently, my wife and I found the GCE 
Vectrex videogame system selling for 
only $49.99 and all its videogames 
retailing from $6.97 to 9.97. Is Vec- 
trex going out of business? 

(Thomas F. Kukla, Mikado, Ml) 
Sad to say, Thomas, but the Vec- 
trex has indeed gone the way of all 
silicon. See EG's "Bargain-Hunter's 
Guide to the Vectrex" elsewhere in 
this issue for further information. 

Qs What is your opinion of the 
Adam's Data Storage Drive? Mine 
seems awfully slow. Also, will Coleco 
ever produce a floppy disc drive? 

(David Lenske, Phoenix, AZ) 
A: I think the Adam DSD is slow as 
sin, frankly, and so, it would seem, 
does Coleco. Witness their announce- 
ment — right on the heels of Adam's 
appearance as a supposedly "com- 
plete, bundled" system — that a flop- 
py drive is forthcoming. This has seve- 
ral unpleasant implications, especially 
for owners of the existing drive. Re- 
tailers, for example, will now be ex- 
pected to carry Adam software in car- 
tridge, disc and DSD formats. 
Considering the bulky size and con- 
siderable loading problems associated 


with the DSD, it seems likely that both 
software producers and stores will be- 
gin shying away from programs in that 
medium, especially in lieu of the forth- 
coming floppy discs. 

MS Recently I saw a very peculiar car- 
tridge for the Atari 2600. It was 
marked "Pitfall/Super Invaders" and 
had a switch to toggle back and forth 
between the two programs. Test play- 
ing showed Pitfall to be just that, 
while "Super Invaders" was, in fact, 
Space Invaders. Could you please tell 
me if this was being made and/or sold 

(name uncertain, Singapore) 
Not being intimately familiar with 
the nuances of the foreign market, I 
hesitate to come right out and con- 
demn this as a rip-off, but it sure 
smells like a "boot" to this old nose. 
Unless the packaging and cartridge 
casing contain the appropriate copy- 
right information et al (especially so, 
as these two games are produced by 
different companies, Activision and 
Atari, respectively) games sold in this 
format are almost always bootlegs. 

Q: I'm an owner of an Atari 2600 
(but then again, who isn't?). I'm con- 
stantly hearing about the voice synth- 
esis module and keyboard peripheral 
Atari planned to release. Then, about 
a month ago, I read that Atari plans to 
ditch these two products. What's the 

(Steve Romano, New Castle, PA) 
The scoop is, indeed, the ditching 
of all 2600 peripherals. Atari finally 
concluded that the 2600 is, first, last 
and always, a game machine. Putting 
a keyboard and other minor league- 
level peripherals on it is awkward, 
since you can buy a real computer for 
little more than the cost of a VCS! 

Q&A QUICKIES: For all those readers 
who have written in wondering where 
they can go in order to sell their var- 
ious software programs, have I got a 
book for you! The Software Author's 
Guide, subtitled "A Comprehensive 
Guide to Microcomputer Software 
Publishers" by Mildred A. Heiney, 
from Datamost, is a marvelous book 
containing alphabetical listings of the 
major publishers in the field. In addi- 
tion to the plethora of data on each 
company, there are several excellent 
introductory chapters that deal with 
the marketing of software by the 
neophyte programmer. . .Several 
readers have also written in regarding 
our "5200 vs Colecovision" piece of 
several issues ago, wondering exactly 
which model 5200 they own. There's 
a very simple way to tell: if your 5200 
runs off a power source extending 
from the RF box connected to the back 
of your television set, or has four joy- 
stick ports, you've got an old model 
system and it will require a service stop 
before it can use the 2600 interface. . . 
By way of correction, we were incor- 
rect when we referred to Dragon's 
Lair as the first commercial coin-op to 
employ videodisc technology. There is 
actually a horse racing game using 
that system and it's been around Las 
Vegas lobbies since before DL. Sorry 
about that, folks. . .Many readers have 
asked us our opinion of the new Atari 
800XL, and though our own models 
aren't expected for another week, the 
ones we have tested, albeit briefly, 
look fantastic! None of the compatibil- 
ity problems of the 1200XL (now, 
thank God, discontinued) and a mar- 
velous keyboard. . . 

Well, that about wraps things up for 
this edition of Q&A, but we'll be back 
next issue, as always, same bat time, 
same bat magazine. Aloha. . . q 

•0 Electronic Games 


It's all here. 

The newest, best, 
most challenging 
games for the 
Atari, Commodore, 
Apple and IBM 
computers . . . and 
the Colecovision, 
Atari, Vectrex 
and Intellivision 
videogame systems! 

More than 900 
game descriptions, 
ratings and 
other important 
points of 





you should know 

before you buy! 

Its the 1984 
produced, directed 
and brought to you 
by the Editors of 
Magazine. And 
that makes it an 
reference for 
gung-ho gamers and 
passionate players! 

y I'm game to check it out! 

Send me EG's 1984 SOFTWARE ENCYCLOPEDIA (at $3.95 
copy ordered) right away! 

$1.00 postage and handling for each 






Number of copies ordered: 

Payment (at $4.95 per copy) enclosed: 

AH orders must be prepaid Please make check or money order payable to Reese Communications Inc 



The King of Stand-Alones 

Has Abdicated, But Vectrex Is 

Still Wowing Gamers 



The buying frenzy is in full swing. 
Ever since Milton Bradley folded 
its Vectrex operation earlier this year, 
bargain-hunting gamers have been 
rushing to stores to pick up what some 
have called "The King of the Stand- 
Alones" at a fraction of the original 

Are the thousands of new Vectrex 
owners getting a premium-quality sys- 
tem at a rock- bottom price, or are they 
just throwing away good money on a 
gaming machine that's only fit for a 
spot at the back of the closet? That's a 
decision each individual consumer will 
have to make, but, at least on the sur- 
face, this portable home arcade looks 
like a good value. 

Certainly, critics have unabashedly 
praised the Vectrex since General 
Consumer Electronics unveiled it in 


82 Electronic Games 




1982. The introduction caused quite a 
stir at the time, too. No one expected 
GCE, which had made its reputation 
with game watches and calculators, to 
bring forth a programmable cartridge 
device built around a black and white 
vector graphics monitor. Its revolu- 
tionary design promised to help gam- 
ers sever the umbilical cord tying them 
to the family television set. 

Like other programmables, soft- 
ware for the Vectrex is encoded on 
cartridges. These plug into a slot on 
the right side of the unit. Each game 
comes with a specially-designed over- 
lay which fits into holders around the 
edge of the screen and adds static 
playfield elements or a dash of color. 

The Vectrex panel controller is a 
sturdy unit with a miniature joystick 
and four buttons that control all the 
action. The stick is exceptionally sensi- 
tive, and moves objects around on 
screen at arcade-game speeds, while 




Electronic Carries 83 

the buttons are used in different com- 
binations to handle player commands. 

When the designers created the 
handsome, lightweight portable ma- 
chine, they didn't stint on audio. The 
Vectrex can fill a room with the beeps 
and boops of high-powered arcade- 
action games, yet the sound level can 
be reduced or eliminated altogether 
when silence is required. 

Milton Bradley Company, eager to 
enter the booming videogame busi- 
ness, purchased General Consumer 
Electronics so that they could obtain 
the Vectrex. But by the time the larger 
corporation was ready to begin 
national distribution of their acquis- 
ition, the price plunges of 1983 had 
begun, so M.B. hacked the cost of the 
Vectrex from its original selling point 
of $200, first to $150 and finally to 
$100. According to M.B. spokesmen, 
the company couldn't afford to chop 
the tag further because of the high 
cost of manufacturing the unit, yet the 
volume of sales needed to make the 
Vectrex profitable at the $100 price 
point never materialized. Finally, after 
reporting losses of over $31 .6 million 
on the Vectrex, Milton Bradley Com- 
pany discontinued manufacturing the 
videogame system. 

Yet, consumer interest in the Vec- 
trex continues unabated even now. In 
fact, this year has proved to be a 
bonanza for buyers, who flocked to 
the stores after M.B. announced Vec- 
trex's discontinuance to clean out in- 
ventories being sold at distress prices. 
In most areas of the country, the con- 
sole is remaindered for around $50, 
while the game cartridges are moving at 
$5-$ 10 "as fast as we can wrap them 
up", according to one retailer. 

The attraction of the Vectrex is two- 



Here is a list of the game titles 
available at the time Milton 
Bradley halted the Vectrex op- 
eration, according to a spokes- 
man from that company. These, 
along with the game console, 
will continue to be marketed 
until supplies are depleted; then 
no more will be manufactured. 

Vectrex cartridges that were 
distributed nationally include: 
Armor Attack, Bedlam, Berzerk, 
Blitz, Clean Sweep, Cosmic 
Chasm, Fortress of Narzod, 
Heads Up Soccer, Hyperchase, 
Pole Position, Polar Rescue, Rip 
Off. Scramble, Solar Quest, 
Space Wars, Spike, Spinball, 
Star Castle, Star Hawk, Star 
Trek and Web Wars. 

The Vectrex Light Pen comes 
packed with "Art Master". 
Other pen-using programs that 
may be found are "Melody 
Master" and "Animaction." 

The Vectrex 3-D Imager may 
be harder to locate, since it only 
received limited distribution. It 
features 3-D goggles that make 
the images burst out of the 
screen in exciting and vibrant 
colors. Additional games that 
use the Imager are "Narrow Es- 
cape" and "Crazy Coaster." 

Happy hunting! 

fold. First, the lightweight unit is a 
good traveler, so works well as the 
family's "second" videogame unit to 
take on vacations, install in boats and 
trailers, or send to college with Junior, 
Second, the self-contained vector- 
scan monitor forever ends those argu- 
ments over who is going to use the 
family TV set. 

But the best thing about the Vectrex 
is undeniably the games. Brilliantly illu- 
minated, the fine-line drawings pop 
into life, then create movement and 
action with a high degree of urgency 
like the coin-op titles on which many 
of the cartridges are based. The resi- 
dent game is Mine Storm, an 
Asteroids-style title that casts the 
arcader as captain of a starship which 
must destroy mines scattered in the 
space lanes. It's a high energy one- or 
two-player contest that's so good 
most gamers would want to buy it sep- 
arately if it didn't come with the 

New Vectrex games kept coming 
right up until the end — roughly two 
dozen titles in all. In mid-1983, the 
Vectrex light pen was introduced 
along with software, and later that 
year the Vectrex 3-D Imager added 
color and made the vector-scan 
graphics jump right off the screen. 
Other games made use of the sound- 
generating capabilities of the Vectrex 
to put voices right in the cartridge, 
without need for any additional equip- 

Even now, after the company has 
closed its book forever on the Vectrex 
experience, some count the game sys- 
tem one of the best videogame 
machines ever devised. It's one of the 
true classics of electronic gaming that 
deserves to be remembered. Q 




S4 Electronic C*m« 


Board Games Go Space-Age For The Whole Family 

When manufacturers marry 
computer-based stand-alones with 
traditional board game challenges, it 
can result in some of the best di- 
versions the electronic world has to 

offer. This month we're looking at two 
examples, one a family amusement in- 
spired by arcades, and the other the 
world's most popular board game, up- 
dated and made more convenient 

through electronics. Whether you're 
hunting for a new entertainment for 
the whole family, or a highly skilled 
opponent for a chess-champion, one 
of these beauties will surely fill the bill ! 



There's hardly an adult in the west- 
ern world who doesn't know the basic 
rules of chess. The game spans all 
societies and ages, 
and continues to 

dominate the lists as the world's most 
loved strategy contest. Yet, although 
most people can play the game, it's 
sometimes difficult to pair up two 
opponents who play at roughly the 
same skill level. Cousin 
Cory might be happy to 
sit and play with 
Uncle Earl for hours, 
but unless the 
two are properly 
matched, it's 
ikely to be a 

for both of them. No 
one likes to be swamped by 
a superior player; by the same token 
few gamers really enjoy a contest 

when the opposition is too weak to 
make it sportive. 

Quick to recognize the need for 
skill-matched opponents, the man- 
ufacturers of stand-alone chess games 
have done remarkable work in the last 
decade to bring this ancient game into 
the computer age. Today, the Fidelity 
Electronics Elite A/S Challenger ranks 
among the top electronic computer 
opponents in the world. In fact, the 
unit was declared the World Cham- 
pion at the Budapest, Hungary tour- 
nament in 1983, as the best com- 
puterized chess player in that competi- 

The Elite features a full-size, hand- 
crafted nutwood -framed board with 
inlaid top. The playing pieces are solid 
wood, with the king measuring almost 
four inches. The unit is 100% solid 
state, with 1/2 in. LED display. It has 
full voice capability, and announces 
each move in sonorous mechanical 
tones. It's a beautiful set-up that will 
grace any parlor, den or study, to pro- 
vide a lifetime of service for any chess 

The Elite has fifteen skill levels, so 

Electronic Games 85 

whether you're just learning the game 
or a highly-ranked chess master, it'll 
give you a rousing good game. At the 
easiest setting, the Elite only thinks 
about its move for an average of about 
five seconds. Level eight has an aver- 
age response time of six minutes per 
move. It's even possible to turn off the 
computer's brain, so that it can't think 
on your playing time; this produces 
eight more intermediate playing 
levels. The next skill levels are special 
settings that allow the user to select 
the time controls, either for individual 
moves, a specified number of moves, 
or for the entire game. 

The unit can display the move it's 
considering, how deeply it's searching 
for its next gambit, and the score. It 
suggests plays for the human op- 
ponent, then even unveils the an- 
ticipated line of play if you accept its 
suggestion And it you change your 
mind, you can take back the last move, 
in fact, by backtracking, it's possible 
to take back an entire game, move by 

The Elite solves the Mate-ln-Seven, 
captures en passant, announces stale- 
mates and draws by the 50-move rule, 
and draws by three-fold repetition. It 
promotes pawns to all legal pieces, 
and is capable of considering these 
promotions when thinking about its 

The LED display has a great many 
functions. It acts as a built-in chess 
clock, times the thinking period, 
counts moves, and communicates 
roughly a dozen different messages to 
the gamer, from mate announcement, 
time overlap, move setting, search 
depth, to illegal move and positional 

When the unit is first turned on, it 
announces, "I am Fidelity's Chess Chal- 
lenger, your computer opponent." 
The voice can be shut off if the gamer 
doesn 't want to hear the computer an- 
nounce each move, and musical tones 
will signal every action. Or, of course, 
the tones can also be shut down if the 
player desires silence. In fact, there's a 
variety of settings that allow the voice 
with or without the tones, at full or 
limited vocabulary, with both the 
tones and the voice set low or soft 

It couldn't be simpler to play the 
game. The chess board has an auto- 
matic response playing surface made 
up of switches which are activated by 
the magnets located in the base of 
each chess piece. The switches read 
the magnets to determine what piece 

is being moved. LEDs light in the to 
and from squares, to indicate that the 
computer has entered the move; the 
Elite also announces the move verb- 
ally. Then the Elite announces its own 
move verbally, while flashing LEDs on 
the to and from squares. Make the 
indicated move and the sensory board 
registers it by reading the magnetized 

The Elite uses the squares of the 
board and control keys to access multi- 
ple functions and options. It's a simple 
procedure of pressing the desired 
square with a chess piece for the set- 
tings desired. 

It works with an optional chess 
printer, and can be set by the manu- 
facturer for voice cababiltty in English, 
German, French or Spanish. It can 
even be made bi-lingual for multi- 
national contests. 

The Elite A/S Challenger is officially 
rated between 1 950 and 2000 playing 
under tournament conditions with 
three-minute-per-move time limit. It 
also works with plug-in modules 
which are available at prices ranging 
from $78 to $120, covering various 
subjects, such as the Great Games 
Module (historical matches), or the 
Tarrasch Defense (opening and mid- 
games dealing with the Queen's Gam- 
bit), Blitz Chess, Theoretical Chess 
Endings, and other helpful modules 


Milton Bradley / $29.99 

Gather the family around the kitch- 
en table and get set for some high- 
tech fun with Milton Bradley's Arcade 
Mania. This three- or four-person 
luck-skill-strategy contest brings the 
thrill of arcade action to a unique 
board game. 

Milton Bradley visited an amuse- 
ment palace for inspiration for Arcade 
Mania. The game combines the fun of 
high-skill action contests with a color- 
ful boardgame the entire family will 
enjoy. But there's more to Arcade 
Mania than just a test of hand-eye 
coordination. The gamer must use 
strategy and planning in order to end 
up with the most chips when the game 
is over. 

Arcade Mania features, in addition 
to the brightly colored board, an elec- 
tronic arcade machine for playing out 
the contests. The machine holds four 
different games, each with its own 
overlay that slides into the unit to pro- 
vide the particulars for that challenge. 

for the serious chess student. 

At $600, this obviously isn't for 
everyone. But for the serious chessist, 
the Elite A/S Challenger is an invest- 
ment that will bring a lifetime of satis- 
faction. It offers virtually every option 
and feature that technology has been 
able to devise. And if that isn't enough 
to impress you, the good looks of the 
unit are sure to cinch the deal, it's that 



The Elite comes with its own trans- 
former that uses house current. Place 
all chess pieces in their starting posi- 
tions, then connect the transformer. 
Press (1) Game Control, (2) use a 
chess piece to press square D8, and (3) 
press Clear. The unit is now ready to 
play and will announce, "I am Fidel- 
ity's Chess Challenger, your computer 
opponent." To enter moves, just pick 
up a piece and move it to the desired 
square. The Elite will detect the move, 
announce it in words, then signal its 
own moves with flashing LEDs and 
vocal confirmation. 

A variety of controls, as explained in 
the owner's manual, allow the chessist 
to set the game for skill levels or differ- 
ent playing modes as desired. 

Each player champions one game, and 
must defend against the other partici- 
pants in each face-off. 

Gamers move around the board as 
directed by the roll of dice, then per- 
form the tasks described on the board. 
If the board directs the player to chal- 
lenge the champion of one of the four 
games, then the two must duel on the 
appropriate contest, while the other 
players make bets on the outcome of 
the competition. 

Event Cards introduce a random 
note. They may tell the gamer to col- 
lect extra tokens from the bank, or to 
double all bets, or to add points to the 
player's score. There are even cards to 
cancel the loss if you lose a bet, or 
(trickiest of all) a card that lets you 
force the opponent to play the chal- 
lenge match with only one hand. 

Every contest can be played at three 
skill levels. Some of the board squares 
direct gamers to defend at a specified 
skill level; other contests require gam- 
ers to roll a die to determine the diffi- 
culty setting. 

86 Electronic Game* 

When the bets are placed and the 
skill levels set, it's time to begin the 
challenge. Whoever gets the highest 
score wins the round and gets chips 
from the bank to reward his victory. 
Then the observers reveal their bets. 
Winners collect what's due from the 
bank, and losers pay the bank what 
they wagered. The game continues in 
this fashion until one player reaches 
the finish line and collects 10 chips for 
being first. Then the gamers all count 
up to see who has won the game by 
accumulating the most chips. 

The four electronic contests are re- 
latively simple, so even a novice gamer 
can do well after only a little practice. 
Alien Raiders makes the gamer de- 
fend against cosmic invaders. A light 
appears behind an alien, and the gam- 
er must push the corresponding con- 
trol panel button to destroy that 
creature, then a new alien appears. 

Rattler sends a three-light snake 
slithering around the screen. The ser- 
pent's tail flashes, and the gamer must 
zap it by pressing the control panel 
button corresponding to the blinking 
light's location on screen. 

Sneak Attack requires some instant 
analysis on the part of the gamer. Mis- 
siles streak about the board and must 
be destroyed while in flight. The 
machine lights up two squares to show 
the direction the missile is headed in. 
Then the gamer has to zap the missile 
by anticipating where it will hit, and 
press the button that corresponds to 
that spot before the third light turns 

The last contest is Run Amuk. A 
hungry monster, 
represented by one blink- 
ing light, chases the un- 
blinking light across the 
screen. The gamer must 
press any button other 
than the one correspond- 
ing to the monster's 
location, in order to 
escape to a new 

The four 
contests are 
that par- 

feel too 

disadvantaged, yet 
fast enough so that young- 
er players should be able to work 
up a good head of steam, parti- 

may be quick on the trigger, and 
Brother Bob may be an arcade ace — 
skills that will help them both. But 
what wins this game is the strategy 
used in placing bets, so Mom and Pop 
can give the kids a run for the chips, 
even if they're less talented in the ac- 
tion portion of the game. G 

cularly at upper skill levels. Each con- 
test speeds up as the game continues, 
getting more challenging the longer 
the game stays in play. 

When each contest ends, all the 
lights turn off, then the score is indi- 
cated by a flashing of one or more 
numbered lights. The score is the total 
of the numbered lights that are lit on 
the console. 

Arcade Mania may never replace 
Monopoly as America's favorite 
boardgame. But it is a bright diversion 
that can provide hours of fun for a 
family. The arcade-style contests are 
certain to be real kid-pleasers, and the 
strategy involved in betting on the 
outcome of the competitions is 
absorbing enough to keep their pa- 
rents involved. Best of all, there are no 
sure things in Arcade Mania. Sister Sue 



Players select which game they'll 
control, then roll dice to move their 
pawns around the board. When land- 
ing on a space that directs you to a 
duel, slide the appropriate game over- 
lay into the mini-arcade machine. The 
non-dueling players then place bets 
on the outcome, and the combatants 
select skill level 1 , 2 or 3, then push the 
appropriate game button on the con- 
trol panel. The challenger plays first, 
and passes the console to his oppo- 
nent to verify the score. Then the de- 
fender plays his round. Play continues 
in sequence, until the first person 
crosses the finish line. All players then 
tally their chips, and the person who 
has accumulated the most booty wins 
the game. 

Electronic Games 87 

EG celebrates its return to regular month- 
ly publication with one of the hottest 
batches of articles and features we've 
ever offered. 


Read all about this year's best compu- 
ter games, videogames, coin-ops and 
stand-alones. Then fill out the ballot and 
vote for your favorites in the gaming 
world's answer to the Oscars and Emmys. 


The fourth quarter of the calendar year 
is always a high spot for games. That's 
when most of the new hardware and 
software first comes on the market. This 
exclusive EG report covers all the great 
games and systems we'll be enjoying this 
coming winter. 


Magic, monsters and marvelous trea- 
sures await in the realms of fantasy any 
gamer can reach through the magic win- 
dow of the home computer. Our maga- 
zine-within-a-magazine is a treasure map 
to the riches of adventure, strategy and 
action fantasy contests! 


Wooing, winning and keeping the 
right designers is a major part of the 
battle for any company hoping to suc- 
ceed m the highly competitive computer 
and videogame market. Here's the inside 
story of how publishers grab and hold the 
top talent. 

There'll be plenty of other exciting articles and features 
of interest to arcaders, plus these regular columns: 

• Passport to Adventure 

• Q&A 

• Inside Gaming 

• Arcade America 

• Computer Gaming 

• Programmable Parade 

* Switch On! 

* New Products 

* Test Lab 

* Readers Replay 

* EG Hotline 

+ Games Library 

• Stand-Alone Scene 

• Mini-Arcade Gallery 

• In Control 

• Strategy Session 

• Insert Coin Here 

• Articles of War 

88 Electronic Cjm« 




Looking for Electronic Games? 

If you have trouble finding ELECTRONIC GAMES at your local news- 
stand or want to know where to send a tnend to pick up a copy, the 
following will help. It's a list of retail stores across the country that carry 
ELECTRONIC GAMES every month. 



ViOeo Box Office. Birmingham 


Byte Store. Juneau 


CG Appliance TV & Video. Casa G-anae 
Hollywood Connection. Phoenix 


National Video #04001. Noah Little Roci< 
Pine Bluff Video. Pine Bluff 


Video Station. Alameda 

Video Cross Roads. Anaheim 

C & W Video. Carmarilio 

Video Connection. Citrus Hts 

Video Station El Monte 

The Works. Eureka 

Coast Video. Fountain Valley 

video Station. Fremont 

Video To Go, Gardena 

Hip Pocket Book Store. Garden Grove 

Happy Home Merchandiser. Granada Hills 

Picture Show Huntington Beach 

Video Station Laguna Hills 

Back Stage Video. Long Beach 

KK Sight & Sound. Los Angeles 

Pirates Cove. Monterey Park 

20th Century Video. Newark 

Video Pius, Novato 

Electronic Games. Orange 

Sound Machine. Orange 

Software Central. Pasadena 

in Home Video. Riverside 

Video Station, Rowland Hts 

Video Games N Gadgets. Sacramento 

Videoiand. San Francisco 

Games Gags Gifts. Tahoe City 

Video Etc West Covma 


Sweet's Tapes & Records. Aruada 
American Home Theater. Colorado Springs 
Guys N Dolls Video. Denver 
Program Store #7806. Littleton 


Video Connection Bridgeport 
Video Studio II, East Winsor 
Video Connection. Fairfield 
Nostalgia World. North Haven 


Video Station. Wilmington 


Electronics Depot Inc., Alamonte Springs 
Peace Chief Sound Center. Bradenton 
Fort Myers Video Movie Center. Fort Myers 
Computer image Software Centre. Miami 
The Crossings Video Shop Inc . Miami 
Jeff Vid Inc /DBA Video CluD Center, Miami 
Orange Blossom Hobbies. Miami 
PSL Electronics Inc.. Miami 
Video Trends. Winter Haven 


An Star Electronics. Atlanta 
Video Connection. Marietta 


Data I Microcomputers. Honolulu 


Mountain Video, Black Foot 


BAC Video Saw Mart. Belleville 

Devon HoDbymodels Inc , Chicago 

TV Repair. Chicago 

Video Tape Gallery. Chicago 

Videocourt. Cicero 

Gienwood Distributors. Collinsville 

Software N Stuff. Collinsville 

Countryside Home Video Countryside 

Electronic Playground. Decatur 

Video Dimensions. Des Plalnes 

video Show. Des Ptames 

Video Comp. Inc.. Evanston 

Circle Communications. Forest Park 

Video Basics Inc.. Joiiet 

Kemlworth Video Kenilworth 

Video Rangers Inc . Morton Grove 

RJ Hobby & Electronic Center Murphysboro 

Classic Video. Oak Lawn 

Sound Warehouse. Oak Lawn 

New World Games. Rockforo 

Video To Vou Inc.. Shaumburg 

Toytown. Springfield 

Video Hotime. Wmneika 

Pace Micro Software Wooddaie 


World of Video. Indianapolis 
Video World Kokomo 
V'deo Place. MemliviHe 
Video Exchange. Mishawaka 


Video island Ltd 



Hollywood At Home Overland Park 


Videovisions. Louisville 


Ann s Video Junction. Slideii 


Sound Track. Sanford 


Video Connection. Beitsviile 
Video Connection. Bowie 
Clinton Video Ctr . Clinton 
Video Connection. Cockeysville 
Video Works. Eiiicott City 
Video Connection. Olney 
Reisiertown Video Inc., Reistertown 
Video Outlet. Silver Springs 
Computer Connection. Taneytown 
Greetings & Readings Towson 
Computer Answers & SVC, Waidoif 


Acton Video. Acton 
Game-Tech. Arlington 
Name Of The Game. Boston 
Video Connection. Burlington 
Act 1 Video Inc . Dracut 
Video Pius. Framingham 
Video Exchange North Andover 
Taylor Sound inc . Pittsheid 
Video Paradise. Plymouth 
Freeze Frame Inc . Saugus 
Video Barn. Somerville 
TV Game Traders. Springfield 
Good Vibrations. Stoughton 


Edge Connector. Clio 

Motor City Drugs & Video. Dearborn 

Alexander's Book Store. Detroit 

Mousetrap Video. Detroit 

Just Software, East Detroit 

Video Connection. Farmington Hills 

Video Today, Holland 

Home Video Outlet, Lansing 

Video Phile. Lapeer 

Video Connection #140. Madison Hts 

Signal Service. Napoleon 

Pro Video. Okemos 

Chi Town Records. Oscoda 

New Horizon Book Shop. Roseviiie 

Mettron. Saint Clair Shores 

Record Cellar. Sterling Hts 

Maxaron Corp.. Warren 

Rite Way Ents . Warren 

Top Stop T Shirt Co . Warren 


Adventures in Video, Crystal 
Games By James. Edma 
Discount Video. Minneapolis 
Games By James. Mmnetonka 


Take-One Video. Long Beach 


National video. Kansas City 
Curt s Computers. Palmyra 
Harvest Plaza Video. St Charles 
Liberty Sound. St Joseph 


Curtis Maihes Entertainment. Billings 


IC Electronics Las Vegas 


Video Biz of New Hampshire Bedford 
Home Video Shop. Seabrook 
Video Stanon Inc South Merrimack 


Software City. Bergenfield 

Video Aids inc.. Bioomfieid 

Video Vision. Bndgeton 

Trash Or Treasure. Budd Lake 

Gemini Enterprises. Cedar Knolls 

Video Connection. Cherry Hill 

O'Johnnies. Clark 

Accent On Video. Closter 

Video Store. Eimwood Park 

Video Trek. Fort Lee 

Camera Video Showpiace. Freehold 

Nu-Video Lakewood 

Video Junction inc . Leonia 

Video Home Center Maralapan 

video Track. Marlboro 

DC Video Inc.. Manasquan 

Ippy's. Manasquan 

Video Studio. Metuchen 

Video Access. North Bergen 

Video Fantasy, Palisades Park 

Stan's Discount Energy & Video. Penns Grove 

Record Record. Pompton Lakes 

Software City. Ridgefieid 

Video Connection. Somerset 

Video Station, Somerset 

Software Store Inc . Somerville 

Video Galaxy. Turnerville 

Captain Video inc.. Vineland 

Opening Night Video. Wayne 

Video Odyssey inc.. Woodbndge 

Video Valance. Woodndge 


Video Connection, Albany 

Videovision. Baldwin 

Future Video. Bayside 

Video Visions. Bayside 

Videotronics. Bronx 

Discount Book Warehouse. Brooklyn 

Ekron Systems, Brooklyn 

Fiatbush Video. Brooklyn 

Parkway Video & Electronics. Brooklyn 

Taio's Video Fair. Brooklyn 

Video Store. Brooklyn 

Video Connection Cedarhurst 

Moriches Vantage Mart. Center Moriches 

Video Emporium, Coram 

Anytime Video. Deer Park 

Video Connection. Deimar 

Video Connection, Derby 

Video Connection, East Northport 

Video Quest. Elmont 

Tanel Electronics. Floral Park 

Video Network. Floral Park 

Audio Video Barn. Blushing 

Video Network Center. Flushing 

Video Wizard Inc., Flushing 

Magic Video. Forest Hills 

Video Statio. Forest Hills 

NSB Video. Franklin Square 

Big Apple Video. Glendaie 

video Etc . Great Neck 

Huntington Video & Computer. Huntington Sta 

Video Enterprise. Kenmore 

ACE Camera Shop, Lawrence 

Castle Video Inc.. Lindenhurst 

Kaleidoscope. Liverpool 

Deiman Television Co.. Long Beach 

L V R Video. Manhasset 

Ankar Video inc , Merrick 

Video Connection. Merrick 

Video Connection. Middle Village 

HM Electronics. Nanuet 

Captain Video. New City 

Future Video. New Hyde Park 

Leigh's Computers. New York 

Mau Corp New York 

Video Connection. New York 

Software Supply Int'l Inc.. Niagara Falls 

Ozone Park Video. Ozone Park 

Commander Video Port Chester 

Video Adventure. Pound Ridge 

Video Breakthrough. Riverhead 

Video Den. Scarsdaie 

Video Entertainment, Sidney 

J N P Electronics. Staten Island 

Video Gaiactica. Staten island 

Video Station. Suffem 

Video Connection. Sunnyside 

Video Connection. Tonawanda 

Selgen Enterprises. Valley Stream 

Fireside Video. White Plains 

Video Village. Whitestone 

Silver Dollar Coin Co . Woodhaven 

Video Supermarket. Woodhaven 

Big Apple Music. Yorkville 


Video Station, Ashevilie 
21st Century Video. Durham 
Video Connection. Goldscoro 
Video Connection. Greensboro 
Rambow Records. Morehead City 
Hardms Magnavox Home Ent . Shelby 


M & B Video Store. Akron 
Video Replay. Akron 
Future Now. Cincinnati 
Video Depot. Cleveland 
Magic Castle Video. Columbus 
Video Game Express. Columbus 
Video Plus Inc . Garfield Hts 
Home Video Library. Middletown 
American Video. North Olmsted 
Cartridge Connection. Proctorviiie 
Calypso Video. Toledo 
Silver Screen Video. Wicknffe 
Video Den. Willoughby 


Video Comp inc Lawton 


Capital Audio Systems. Salem 


Captain Video Center Store #10. Aston 

Video Connection, Dresner 

Video Store. Levittown 

Home Video Center Inc , Newton Square 

Tonidaie Arcade. Oakdaie 

Software Pius. Philadelphia 

Video Games Plus, Philadelphia 

The Video Inn. Philadelphia 

Video Connection. Quakertown 

international Video York. York 


Video Vision #59. Guaynabo 


Video Connection. Johnston 
Video City, Provicjence 


Carolina Video Center Inc . Charleston 

Game Exchange. Greenwood 

All Thai's Video. Spartanburg 


Radio Service Center. Nashville 
Video World. Nashville 
Totally Video. Smyrna 
Sneaky Snakes Elect . Somerville 


TV Center. Abilene 

Pantego TV. Arlington 

VidCom. Brownsville 

Video Rainbow. Forth Worth 

wedgewood Rental. Fon Worth 

Audio Video Plus. Houston 

vi-AM Video & Bookstore. Houston 

TV Games Limited. Midland 

M & M Elect Sales & SVC. Synder 

Lonestar Video Rentals. Vidor 


Video Connection. Brattieboro 


Video Station. Alexandria 

Mr Franco Printing & Newsstand. Arlington 

Video Shop Inc . Manassa 

Video Station. Roanoke 

Video Express. Virginia Beach 

Combs Distributing. Winchester 


Video Space Beilevue 

Kent Video & Computers. Kent 

Piatmum Sound, Seattle 

Video mt'i Corp /DBA Video Hut. Seattle 


Computers Pius Inc.. Charleston 

Tronix. Charleston 


Video Exchange. Glendaie 
Phantasy Age Inc.. Lacrosse 
Total Eclipse. Mehomonee Falls 
Ford Theatre Home Video. Racine 
Galaxy TV Games. Racine 
Drakes Super Valu, Salem 
Video Place. South Milwaukee 


Clark Co . Cheyenpe, . i 

CANADA ,..'•!.• 

Video Games Galore. Courtney. British Columbia 

Home & Business Computer Ctr , Mississauga. Ontario§ 

Future Shop, vancourver. British Columbia 

Riverside Products. Whitehorse. Yukon Territory 

Red River Book Shop. Winnipeg Manitoba 











Interaction between the readers and editors of Electronic Games helps make this a 
better magazine. The more we here at EG know about who you are and whatyou want 
to read, the better we can satisfy your needs and desires. That's why we run a Reader Poll 
in every single issue of this magazine. Rest assured that even though we protect the 
anonymity of every respondent to our survey, the editor personally reads each and every 
ballot received. And of course, this is also your ballot for casting your vote for the most 
popular videogames, computer game programs and coin-op arcade machines. 

Please return this poll sheet — or a photocopy, if you prefer to keep your Electronic 
Games in perfect condition — to Electronic Games, 460 West 34th Street, 20th Floor, 
New York, NY 10001. 


D Male □ Female Age 


D Under $5000 □ $5000-9999 
D $10,000- 14,999 

□ $15,000- 19.999 

□ $20,000- 24.999 Q $25.000 ■+ 


□ Single □ Married 



D Under 2 L 3-5 
U6-11 D12-17 

Please indicate the number of cartridges, disks, etc. which you own 
or plan to buy within the next 12 months for the systems below: 


Atari VCS 




Atari 5200 

Other Videogame System 


Atari 400/800 

IBM Personal Computer 

Apple II 

Commodore 64 

Tl 99/4A 

Other Microcomputer 

Video Cassette Recorder 

Videodisc Player 

Plan to Buy 

How m 

any hours per week do you 

spend playing various 

electronic games: 

D Less 

than 2 

hours n 2-5 hours [_j 6-10 hours [ ] More than 10 hours 


much do you spend 

per week on electronic 


□ Unde 


□ $2-5 

: S6-10 

G Over $10 

How many people, besides yourself will read this issue of Electronic Games: 



My favorite videogame cartridges are: 



My favorite microcomputer games are: 




My favorite coin-op games are: 





It all began thousands of 
miles beyond the mouth of 
the Nile River in a fertile 
region known today as Bal- 
ly Midway. It was here that 
an expedition of the world's 
most prominent pinballolo- 
gists wandered west and 
made a startling discovery 
while excavating for new 
plateaus in arcade adven- 
tures Through remarkable 
feats of engineering, they 
soon uncovered a mysteri- 
ous artifact said to have 
once amused Pharaohs, 
priestesses, and mummies 
in their final resting place. 
Preserved in all its monoli- 
thic glory lied the treasures 
before had modern civiliza- 
tion had the chance to mar- 
vel at the rich ornamental 
-sculpting of its cabinetry 
... the majesty of its flash- 
ing lights... the gleaming 
opulence of its regal flip- 
pers. Now from the far cor- 
ners of Bally Midway, the 
legend known as BLACK 
PYRAMID lives again. 

- 1984 Bally Midway Mfg Co 







. player is really 
firing up his score? 

'"PV* ■!•»"» It frill/tlr The new ^ ome version of 
A XLilllk CJU-lCt*.. Mpon patrol looks so 

much like the arcade, it could fool the man in the moon. 

So don't find yourself in a crater. Like the player on the 

right. He'll get only 100 points for using his Moon 

Buggy to shoot down a Moon Strafer. While the player 

on the left will get twice as many points for shooting 

down a Crater Maker. A victory as great as the lunar 


Your score can wax even higher. You'll get 80 points 
every time your Moon Buggy jumps over a rock. But 
you'll get 100 points when you blow up a rock. 

Only Atari makes Moon Patrol for the ATARI* 26O0" Game, Sears Video Arcade' 
systems, and a version exclusively for the ATARI 5200" SuperSystem. 

So get on your lunar module and scan your local moonscape for Moon Patrol . 

Here comes Moon Patrol* from Atari! 

\tf A Warner Communications Company